When it comes to estate planning, the Internet is both a wonderful resource and a significant hazard. There is a lot on the Internet, and not all of it is useful, helpful or even correct. While you should take the time to use the Internet to your advantage, you shouldn’t solely rely on it, or use it as a substitute for the advice that only an experienced attorney can provide.
Benefit: Education. The Internet is home to more information than any law library in the world. Your state’s laws are all probably online, allowing you to review them with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can also find some excellent guides that walk you though various estate planning topics and make often confusing legal terminology easy to understand.
Danger: False confidence. The corollary to all the information available is that it can provide you a sense that you know everything you need to know. Yes, you can learn a lot on the Internet, but that doesn’t make what you learn accurate. It also doesn’t make what you learn complete. It takes attorneys years of training and practical experience to learn all the ins and outs of estate planning, and they are constantly keeping track of all the changes that you probably aren’t aware of and would have a hard time finding out about.
In the end, while you can use Internet resources to be more comfortable with estate planning and even begin the planning process on your own, you should, at the very least, bring your work to an attorney for review. You’ll be glad you did.
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