The Risk of DIY Planning

If I Write My Own Will, Do I Need A Lawyer To File It For Me At The Courts?

The title of this post came from a question I received last week. It’s one of many questions I receive each week that show significant confusion about the state’s laws regarding Wills. It also illustrates why I generally don’t recommend do-it-yourself estate planning. The answer is that Texas statutes do not require filing a WillRead More

DIY Planning Can Be a Nightmare!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from a woman whose ex-boyfriend had died, naming her as the sole beneficiary and executor of his multimillion dollar estate. Despite her ex-boyfriend’s substantial wealth, he had forgone the advice of a lawyer and prepared a Will using DIY software. He told her verbally thatRead More

The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

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 time,Read More

You Need More Than A Simple Will

I received a phone call recently from someone inquiring about my services. She had purchased a self-help book on estate planning and had her needs figured out. “We have beneficiary designations on our retirement plans and we’ve executed transfer on death deeds for our real estate,” she said. “All we need now is a simpleRead More

The Cost of a Do-It-Yourself Will

I have written before about the risks of do-it-yourself estate planning and explained how people who use do-it-yourself solutions end up with a false sense of security. They create documents that they believe will address their needs but wind up being ineffective and ultimately more costly than what an attorney would have charged to draftRead More

If Lawyers Aren’t Perfect, Why Isn’t a Document Preparation Service Good Enough?

A reader recently submitted a comment to my article titled “LegalZoom vs. Lawyer: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.” This reader’s view of lawyers had been shaped by his experience in a protracted divorce proceeding, so needless to say, it was not positive. The main gist of his comment was that the legal professionRead More