A new crop of technology companies is attempting to capture a slice of the end-of-life care and estate planning industries. Users should proceed with caution.
People are more comfortable using the latest technology than ever before. Older generations are now mostly aware of how the Internet works and how to use apps on their phones. The Millennial generation can barely remember, if they can remember at all, a time when technology was not used for almost everything.
However, apps and online services for end-of-life and estate planning have been relatively slow to catch on. Some new start-ups are hoping to change that as the New York Times reported in “Start-Ups for the End of Life.”
One app that is discussed allows people to get a customized estate plan supposedly tailored to their state laws. A user reported that she compared the will the app gave her to one her parents had an attorney draft and it looked the same.
Looks can be deceiving.
As with downloadable will forms available from some websites, an estate plan created by an app might not be the best estate plan for everyone’s needs and it is only valid if it is properly executed. If things are not done precisely right, any money saved by using the app will be much less than money spent trying to fix any problems in probate or otherwise.
The best way to get an estate plan is to hire an experienced estate planning attorney.
It might not be as convenient and it might cost more upfront. However, only an attorney can create an estate plan that is truly customized for an individual’s needs and ensure that the plan is legally valid.
Reference: New York Times (Nov. 2, 2016) “Holding Vacation Homes in Trust.”
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