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Potential estate planning risks associated with online wills

Some people in Nevada are ardent do-it-yourselfers when it comes to everything from household tasks to taxes. But a DIY approach to preparing a will could contribute to some oversights or missteps that may be problematic for loved ones left behind. One potential problem is that some sites may omit important companion documents, such as a financial power of attorney and an advance healthcare directive, or only offer them with higher-priced packages.

Documents on online will sites are usually fill-in-the-blank. But if someone completing will-related documents online has a question, access to an attorney may be limited. Other times, a site may simply have a drop-down menu with responses to frequently asked questions in lieu of direct access to an estate planning lawyer. The main advantage of DIY wills is the cost, although people also appreciate the convenience of being able to take care of this task fairly quickly.

For individuals without significant assets or real estate, DIY estate planning may be better than nothing at all - at the very least, there will be documents on file. However, the online sites offering wills and related documents are often set up in a way that assumes people visiting such websites will know exactly what they want and need. This is why they often offer packages that may include a will by itself for a lower price and a complete package for a higher price.

However, people may not be fully aware of what estate-related needs they have until they really start going through their assets and seriously think about how they want to pass along what they have to their preferred heirs. This process can be more personalized with assistance from an will planning lawyer. An attorney might also determine if either existing or newly created documents are in line with Nevada's probate code and discuss options such as trusts.

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