Monday, August 10, 2009

L.A. Times Article: Fight Over Michael Jackson's Estate Is Increasing Business For Online Will Companies

The Los Angeles Times ran an article on July 14, 2009 about how the Michael Jackson estate battle could increase the number of people who use online will companies. The article discusses some of the reasons why doing it yourself is not for everyone. To read the article, go to:

The article gives some examples of when it is best to see a lawyer for estate planning:
--if there are "interwoven business assets" or wealth,
--if you want to "leave a close relative out of your will or impose conditions,"
--if you want to disinherit your wife or child,
--if you want to set up contingencies such as "your daughter gets the money if she gets married" or "she gets the money if she divorces her current husband," and
--if you want an attorney to be able to attest you were competent when the estate planning documents were created.

Although we can understand why people who do not have any estate planning documents would be tempted to use the online form wills, we recommend against them for a variety of reasons. Often they are not executed properly, do not properly consider tax issues, do not consider state law, do not provide for the appointment of guardians for children, do not address the various issues when creating a trust, and so on and so on.

The money saved now in an online will can cost the estate significantly more later. We can provide many war stories where online or improperly drafted "do it yourself" wills and trusts created more problems than they solved. In addition, they cost the estate many times more than a properly executed trust and pourover will would have in the first place.

Any questions or comments should be directed to: hm@moravecslaw.com or (626) 793-3210. The firm website is http://www.moravecslaw.com/