The Real Cost of a DIY Plan
I have a lot of respect for Dave Ramsey, so I was surprised to see him endorsing Mama Bear, an online form will and trust document preparation service. These services do not provide legal advice. They state in the small print you consent to, repeatedly, that:
“The information contained in the Site is general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. As the law differs in each legal jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on your location or situation, the information or use of documents on the Site is not a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. Mama Bear, Mama Bear Services, and its Forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.”
You consent to pay for legal documents that may be invalid.
I get it. An estate plan is a tough expense to swallow. But it is necessary. And the real value of my services lies in the specific legal advice I provide you and in the money I save your heirs in avoiding probate. Peace of mind really only comes from knowing that the documents you created are legally valid and accomplish your objectives.
Mistakes made on a form document can render a will, trust or power of attorney invalid. This year, I’ve seen the following mistakes:
- A couple who did DIY wills and did not realize that Florida Homestead has restrictions on how or to whom you can devise it. Under Florida law, homeowners face some restrictions about how they pass their homes to heirs. The restrictions depend on whether the owner has a spouse, minor children, a will or trust, and how the property is titled.
- Trust documents rendered invalid because the notary did the signatures via video or face-time, even though she was not a FL registered e-notary and did not use the required system for online notarization (The Florida Statutes has specific rules and few notaries are authorized to do these online notarizations).
- Documents where the notary was also an attesting witness taking an oath, making the whole document invalid.
- Power of Attorney forms done online without specific powers being granted as required by Florida law, so the client needed to get a guardianship through the courts anyway, costing him an extra $8,000!
- Powers of Attorney where an interested party was also a witness.
- Signature blocks that were written incorrectly rendering the whole notary attestation and document invalid.
There is a lot to keep track of to make sure that your estate plan is done correctly, and only a licensed attorney can offer legal advice. With 15 years of experience and special trainings in advanced estate planning, trust law, and taxes, I can provide clients with specific legal advice and customized documents that meet their needs. Click HERE to book your appointment today.