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Do-it-yourself wills: Do they work?

There are often do-it-yourself options for estate planning, with even some states having fill-in-the-blanks forms on their state websites, but do these types of estate planning documents provide the best benefit for residents in Nevada?

Those who are trying to save money often end up unfortunately cutting corners. While the do-it-yourself wills may work for some people, in general, working with an estate planning professional will bring the best outcome.

Some people who are looking to put together a quick and cheap will turn to the internet for answers. There are websites that, for a fee, will put together a will based on questions that you answer. Part of the worry that some people have about answering questions online is whether that information is safeguarded or will be used by the website. Another problem with online sites is that they often miss crucial components of a will, such as nominating guardians for your children or who will be appointed if the guardian passes away.

Online wills also have a cookie-cutter disadvantage to them. For example, the will may set up a trust for your children that can be accessed after they turn 18. But what happens if you want them to be older before they can access the money or if that access should be based on very specific criteria, such as marriage or good grades? That's where a legal professional can make the difference.

Although couples who live under simple circumstances and have no children may get by with some forms of do-it-yourself wills, the majority of people would benefit from the expertise of a professional.

Source: Oregon Live, "Fill-in-the-blank wills can be a little skimpy," Brent Hunsberger, March 10, 2012

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