Estate Planning

The Risk of DIY Planning

The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

by Rania Combs


We are a nation of do-it-yourselfers. Nowhere is that fact more evident than in our local Home Depot or Lowe’s stores. If we need new flooring, we take a class to learn how to install tile or hardwoods. If we need a room painted, there is no need to call a professional.

Most of the time, we can do it ourselves. The DIY approach gives us a sense of personal satisfaction. But typically, our motivation to do the job ourselves is driven by our desire to minimize the cost of the project. Sometimes that is a good thing – but not always.

There are a lot of people who take on their estate planning with the same motivation of saving money. Rather than consulting with a qualified attorney, they seek to cut costs by using various Do-It-Yourself estate planning kits.

Unfortunately, by undertaking their own estate planning work, they often misapply the law, use the wrong documents, or prepare them incorrectly, thereby running the risk that their estate will not be distributed according to their wishes.

For example, Texas has very specific requirements concerning wills.  If a will does not comply with all these requirements, it can be declared invalid, meaning that your estate could be treated as though you never had one.

Additionally, the one-size-fits-all character of a Do-It-Yourself plan does not take into account each individual’s unique circumstances, and consequently each individual’s estate planning needs.

A qualified attorney is not just a document preparation service, but a trusted counselor who can advise you on the best way to protect your family, and preserve and distribute your assets in the manner you choose.

Yes, it may cost more to have an attorney prepare your estate plan. But the consequences of an improperly drafted plan typically costs significantly more in the long run. Isn’t the extra cost worth peace of mind?

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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