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Would You Fix a Gas Leak Yourself?

Five Common Mistakes with “DIY” Estate Plans

This current pandemic has so many of us becoming DIYers.* I never knew just how long Sherryl’s “honey-do” list actually was--I really think it is perpetual! She keeps saying, “now that we are home, we can do this and that instead of paying someone else to do it.” I have become the ultimate DIYer (“do it yourself”)! That said, I draw the line at gas--I will not touch anything that can cause permanent damage to my family, me, and the neighborhood.

The pandemic is constantly showing us permanent damage and loss. It is a reminder that tomorrow is not promised. And, whether we like it or not, some of our minds drift toward the importance of creating or updating our estate planning documents. As a result, these extended stay-in-place orders could inspire another DIY idea: to create your own estate planning documents. IGNORE THE TEMPTATION!

Whether you are considering writing your own will or using an online DIY document creator, PLEASE DO NOT. There are so many other things for you to do and so many reasons why this is one project you should not undertake without the help of a professional. DIY estate planning is like working on a gas line, if something goes wrong, there are no “do-overs” and the impact of your mistake can affect you and your loved ones.

What is a DIY estate plan?

A DIY estate plan is something you “do yourself” without the advice of an estate planning attorney. Someone who DIYs their own legal documents could be:

  • Handwriting a “will” themselves;

  • Downloading a “fill in the blank” document that they got on the internet; or