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The Importance of Personalized Estate Planning: Be Cautious of Online Platforms

The Importance of Personalized Estate Planning: Be Cautious of Online Platforms

In today's digital age, convenience is often just a few clicks away. With the rise of online platforms offering Will and Trust solutions with just the click of a button, sometimes it can seem too good to be true. While online platforms may seem like a quick and cost-effective solution, there are critical reasons why a personalized approach to estate planning matters and why caution is warranted when relying solely on these services. Below we explore some of the key pitfalls when it comes to online platforms that offer “quick and easy” estate planning packages.

 

1. Personalization for Unique Situations

Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process. Every individual and family has unique circumstances, financial goals, and family dynamics that should be considered when creating a Will or Trust. Online platforms typically offer generic templates that fill in basic information, but they lack the ability to tailor estate plans to address specific needs and complexities. Most online packages often send you a generic questionnaire to determine which “plan” is right for you. The answers that you provide are then used to automatically update their templated document (which is done by a software and not a human). In essense your entire document will be generated through one simple, and often times very basic form that you fill out. Once the software forces you into a given “plan,” it simply replaces your name and the names of your family and friends in the template, and sends you a final copy for your signature within minutes. All of this is done without any type of consultation with a human to discuss any specific nuances to your family situation, assets that you own, businesses that you own, etc.

2. Lack of Legal Expertise

Online estate planning platforms are essentially automated word processors. They cannot provide the legal expertise and guidance that a local attorney can offer. Estate planning involves more than just filling in forms—it requires a deep understanding of state-specific laws, tax implications, and strategies to protect assets and minimize probate costs. We have worked with numerous clients that had an online platform create their Will or Trust, only for them to bring it to us at Lane, Lane & Kelly to correct it. We have even seen these platforms create Trusts without ever instructing the client that they must move their property into the Trust (via title transfer) for it to provide any of the benefits that Trusts are designed to serve.

3. State-Specific Considerations

Many online estate planning providers are national companies based in states like California. They may apply generic templates based on California law, which may not align with the unique laws and regulations of Massachusetts or other states. This can lead to unintended consequences and legal issues down the road.

4. Hidden Long-Term Costs

While online platforms advertise low-cost solutions for creating Wills and Trusts, the potential long-term costs can outweigh the initial savings. Inadequate or improperly drafted estate planning documents can result in legal disputes, probate delays, and increased expenses for your family after your pass. While these online platforms may save you a few hundred dollars initially, they can end up costing you and your family thousands in the long run. 

 

Why Choose a Local Estate Planning Attorney such as Lane, Lane & Kelly?

Personalized Guidance:

A local estate planning attorney takes the time to understand your specific needs and goals, offering tailored solutions that address your unique situation. Here at Lane, Lane & Kelly we keep our clients involved in the entire process from beginning to end, usually holding several meetings or phone calls. We keep our clients involved throughout the entire document drafting and editing process, staying in touch long before you ever come in to sign your official documents.

Knowledge of Massachusetts State Laws:

An attorney who practices in Massachusetts is well-versed in local laws and regulations, ensuring that your estate plan complies with all legal requirements. Massachusetts has very complex probate and intestacy laws that are unlike any other state. More a full overview of the probate process and Massachusetts Intestacy laws, please read our legal blogs here (An Overview of the Massachusetts Probate Process Blog and Our Full Guide to Understanding Massachusetts Intestacy Laws Blog). 

Comprehensive Advice:

Beyond Wills and Trusts, an estate planning attorney can provide guidance on related matters such as healthcare directives, powers of attorney, tax implications, and asset protection strategies. Our experienced attorneys provide a consultative approach to guide you through not only the estate planning process, but any other legal implications that come with is such as buying and selling real estate, or changing title to property. Lane, Lane & Kelly prides itself on building relationships, with the majority of our estate planning clients returning to use our legal services down the road. Where online platforms view your estate plan as just another number, Lane, Lane & Kelly aims to serve as your law firm for life, with the friendliness and personalization that only a human connection can provide. 

 

Conclusion

While online estate planning platforms promise convenience and affordability, they often fall short in addressing the intricacies and nuances of individual estate planning needs. Choosing a local estate planning attorney ensures personalized attention, legal expertise, and peace of mind that your estate plan is tailored to your specific circumstances. Don't let the allure of low-cost templates compromise the future security of your loved ones—invest in a comprehensive estate plan with the guidance of a trusted professional.

At Lane, Lane & Kelly, LLP, we specialize in personalized estate planning services tailored to the unique needs of our clients in the entire Greater Boston area. Since 1938, we have provided clients all over Eastern Massachusetts with the dedicated and personalized approach that Estate Planning requires. When it comes to your legacy, make sure that you choose an experienced attorney that can ensure your wishes are carried. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or visit our office located in Braintree, Massachusetts to start planning for the future with confidence.

 

This blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Lane, Lane & Kelly, LLP.