Why You Should Not Use an Internet Service for Maryland/D.C. Estate Planning

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Everyone needs estate planning. Maryland and District of Columbia estate planning is not for the elderly or for the rich. Everyone needs estate planning.

But you need estate planning done by experienced, trained, talented, and human estate planning attorneys. Yes, you can get a cheap Last Will and Testament off the internet. But that is not wise. Yes, the Maryland and D.C. estate planning lawyers here at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl would be happy to help. But that is not important. Whether you choose us or not, you need legal help with your estate planning in a face-to-face, personal setting with a live human lawyer. Here are a few reasons why.

Is your internet Will valid?

Wills prepared online claims that they are valid in the legal jurisdiction where you live. But are they? What happens if your Will is deemed NOT valid after your death? The internet will give you instructions about how to properly execute your Will, but did you do it correctly?

You can ask questions to your live estate planning attorney and get actual answers.

Trying to complete an internet Will can be confusing. You may have questions, and the online answers may not provide satisfactory answers. For example, it may be confusing to consider what role your Personal Representative/Executor will plan after your death. A live estate planning attorney can explain things like that in a way that you can understand.

A Will is not the only important aspect of Maryland/D.C. estate planning.

Good Maryland/D.C. estate planning involves not only a Last Will and Testament but other considerations. These include a careful evaluation of how you designate beneficiaries on insurance policies, financial and retirement accounts, and how personal and real property is titled. For example, you can have a bank account designated as a “pay-on-death” account. Such an account should NOT be included in a Will because it passes to the person designated by operation of law. That is, such an account will not be subject to probate proceedings in either Maryland or the District of Columbia.

Further, other estate planning documents should be considered. What about financial powers of attorney in the event of incapacitation? What about health-care-related healthcare estate planning documents?

The Internet Will may not be your best option.

Depending on what you want to do with your estate planning, you may have several options other than just executing a Will. For example, if the goal is to avoid probate proceedings, then a trust might be better, along with careful use of other financial instruments that are designed to avoid probate. Internet Will services will not allow you to discuss your estate planning goals or explore various options.

An internet Will may or may not be confidential.

Let’s face it: the types of information included in a Will are private and confidential. You do not want to have that information becoming public now or some years in the future. Yeah, supposedly, the internet is secure and confidential. But our lived online experience tells us otherwise. What happens if your internet Will company goes defunct or merges or gets bought by another company? What happens to your data and information? Confidentiality is assured when you are dealing with live estate planning attorneys, not only because human lawyers care about such things but because the ethical rules require it.

Maryland and D.C. Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys

If you are thinking about estate planning, contact the Maryland and D.C. trust and estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. We have the experience and expertise you need. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC.

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