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You’re Setting Up a Trust—Hiring An Attorney or DIY?

When it comes to estate planning, there are two main options for drafting documents: hiring an attorney or doing it yourself with an online service. Both have their own set of pros and cons, and it’s important to consider them carefully before deciding.

Working with an attorney

The Upside

One of the main benefits of hiring an attorney to draft estate planning documents is the level of expertise and experience they bring to the table. Attorneys are highly trained professionals who are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding estate planning.

Attorneys provide valuable advice and guidance on how to structure your estate to best serve your needs and protect your assets. In an area like estate planning, this can be beneficial as estate and tax laws change.

Another benefit of hiring an attorney is they can provide personalized attention and tailored solutions. An attorney will take time to get to know you and your specific circumstances and can create a plan that is customized to your needs. This can be especially helpful if you have:

  • Family dynamics that might create issues after your death
  • Business ownership that needs special planning for transferring to heirs
  • A large net worth with estate tax implications 

Lastly, an attorney can provide ongoing support and guidance if your situation changes or if you have questions about your estate plan.

The Downside

Hiring an attorney can be a costly option. The hourly rate can be quite high and the total cost of drafting estate planning documents can make it unaffordable for some.

DIY-ing your estate plan

The Upside

A second option for getting your estate planning documents in order is “doing it yourself” through an online service. Many online services offer a wide range of documents and tools that help create a “one-off” document or a comprehensive estate plan.

One benefit of drafting your documents online is the cost. These are typically affordable options with a low flat fee per document.

Second, using an online service can also be more convenient. You can complete the process from the comfort of your own home and you can access your documents and make changes whenever you need to. Online services often have a user-friendly interface, making the process less intimidating and more accessible.

The Downside

One major drawback to DIY-ing is that you may not receive the same level of expertise and personalized attention as you would with an attorney. This would be a greater disadvantage for those with more complex situations. 

Additionally, online services may not be able to provide the same level of guidance and support, and they may not be able to help you navigate legal issues that may arise. For some documents like a living trust, the process is more than just drafting documents. “Funding” your new trust by changing ownership of assets and updating beneficiaries is important. Without the counsel of an experienced attorney, you might not be comfortable with this step.

A third option

Both hiring an attorney and using an online service have pros and cons. While an attorney can be costly, they are able to provide expertise and individual attention. An online service can be more affordable and convenient but may not provide the same level of knowledge and personalization.

At Stewardship, we have a third option when it comes to estate planning. We have combined the accessibility, affordability, and convenience of an online service with the guidance and help of working with a person. No, we aren’t attorneys, so we cannot provide legal advice. But we do provide education and assistance with getting your documents in order.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. If you are an Arizona resident and would like to discuss estate planning documents, schedule an appointment today.

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