“You could do open heart surgery on yourself, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”

Says Professor Beyer of the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog regarding Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning techniques here. His comments stem from his review of Get Yourself a Will: Here’s a Way, from USA Weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2007 by Sharon Epperson.

In her piece she “tauts the benefits of self-help estate planning techniques as follows:”

Any adult of sound mind can draft a basic will on his own for a fraction of the cost of turning to a trust and estates attorney. It may not be the most comprehensive will, but at least you will have a legal document designating guardianship for your children, naming beneficiaries and specifying your last wishes.

And I agree with Professor Beyer… A bad idea.

There are many talented estate planning professionals who are usually more than happy to work within any budget you require. Really. Most planners want you to have a plan, even if it means they don’t get paid terribly well. Please, please call someone before you consider doing your own plan. The harsh reality of DIY plans is that you very likley cost your beneficiaries many times more than what you would have spent had it been done by a professional the first time.

“Its better than nothing” is the common first response, but after many of the nightmare scenarios that I have seen, a DIY plan can actually be worse than nothing.

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