Do-It-Yourself Pitfalls

Everyone wants a bargain.  The problem with shopping for a bargain when researching your estate planning options is being sure to compare items of similar quality.  

Not all trusts and wills are of the same quality.  Without getting advice from a qualified attorney, you may be missing out on opportunities to save your family thousands of dollars in legal fees and estate taxes after you pass away.

A properly drafted estate plan should not only avoid the legal fees associated with the probate process, it should also protect your beneficiary's inheritances should they be involved in a creditor claim, bankruptcy, divorce or lawsuit.  Many fill-in-the-blank forms and online form providers do not provide for this protection in their standard form documents.  If you want to add it, the price they have listed increases dramatically.  

Additionally, our trust packages include the drafting of the Arizona deed to title your real estate into your trust...LegalZoom charges an extra $210 fee per deed on top of the fee charged for their trust package.  LegalZoom's trust package also does not include the financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney or living will.  If you wish to have these documents LegalZoom will charge you an additional fee per document.

While it is tempting to do it yourself or hire the cheapest online form provider, oftentimes it is discovered later that it would have been worth spending a bit more money up front to have the job done correctly.  

A qualified attorney is not just a document preparation service but a trained professional who can evaluate your particular circumstances and advise you on ways to minimize estate taxes, avoid costly court proceedings, and ensure your children are cared for by the guardian of your choice rather than a guardian selected by a judge who doesn’t know you or your values.  

Online form providers like LegalZoom do not give legal advice.  Quoting the disclaimer on LegalZoom's own website:   "The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered. LegalZoom is not a law firm and is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. LegalZoom cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction."

Using LegalZoom or other do-it-yourself kits can give you a false sense of security in that you believe the documents you create will cover your needs, but the mistakes are unlikely to be discovered until after you become incapacitated or pass away.  Your family and loved ones are left behind to try to clean up the mess.

Rania Combs, an attorney practicing in Texas, has written a great article on the pitfalls of using LegalZoom which can be found by following this link: 

http://www.texaswillsandtrustslaw.com/2010/05/24/legalzoom-vs-lawyer-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/

Legal documents are not one-size-fits-all.  Everyone's individual finances and family circumstances are different.  Only an attorney is qualified to assess your individual life circumstances to give you proper legal advice.

Show your family that you care about them by having your estate planning documents drafted by a qualified attorney.  Doing so will also show by example that it is ok to ask for help.


Call to schedule your consultation with an attorney who listens and cares.


623-518-3513 


2980 N. Litchfield Rd, Suite 120
Goodyear, AZ 85395

email: jmahoney@mahoneylawoffice.net

Do-It-Yourself Risks

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Ph: 623-518-3513