A recent survey of more than 2,000 people found that 64% of the people surveyed indicated that they don't have wills, according to an article published online by AARP. Many people are superstitious about planning for death. People fear that once they get the ball rolling on estate planning, something bad will happen. Time after time, however, our clients tell us that they experience such a sense of relief after completing their estate planning. The peace of mind far outweighs the fear involved in beginning the estate planning process.
We warn you, however, of using an online service that produces legal documents. When it comes to planning for death, "one size does not fit all," especially since estate, probate, and trust laws vary from state to state.
In one Florida case, the "do it yourself" Will of a women had so many discrepancies and omissions that the woman's estate was taken all of the way to the Florida Supreme Court to determine how the property was going to be distributed to the woman's heirs after the woman died. The attorney fees incurred for the case cost substantially more than what the fees would have been for the woman to have had her Will prepared properly by a qualified attorney before her death.
Many attorneys who choose to practice in this area of law have some advanced certification or accreditation in the field because of how difficult this area of law can be to practice. Sometimes not having any estate planning documents at all can be better than having documents that are self-prepared due to the problems that can occur with documents that don't comport with state law and are ambiguous.