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August 28, 2023

The Dangers of DIY Wills and Trusts: Let’s Get it Right

I participate in several online dementia support groups, and recently someone inquired about Wills and Trusts. A member mentioned they sourced online forms. This individual likely obtained the wrong forms, as they remarked, “I got an online Power of Attorney form that is a Will.” However, Powers of Attorney and Wills are distinct documents.

A Power of Attorney becomes invalid upon one’s death, whereas a Will addresses asset distribution after death. It’s unclear which forms this individual procured.

I understand the allure of saving funds by using “free” online forms, which seem straightforward—merely fill in the blanks. But if, like this group participant, you’re unfamiliar with legal documents and the nuances between Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney, it’s crucial to consult a legal professional.

I dedicate approximately 14 hours weekly to reading estate planning articles (even more when the law undergoes changes). Every week, I come across accounts of families who either chose incorrect forms or filled them out improperly, leading to court battles or attempts to rectify errors.

These mistakes often remain concealed until circumstances arise wherein care is required for a loved one with dementia (who can no longer provide signatures to amend the error) or when the loved one passes away.

At that point, their intentions might be incomprehensible, or the “power of attorney” might be on an incorrect form, rendering it unacceptable and compelling the family to approach Conservatorship court.

I’m committed to helping families avoid probate court. If you possess a Trust in need of review, I’ll assess it for a fair fee.

If you’re uncertain about the necessary documents, don’t squander hours in confusion—contact me.

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Geisler Patterson Law


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