Knowledge is power, but it is said that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is something to keep in mind when you are contemplating making plans for the future in the information age.
These days you can find information on just about any subject on the Internet. Without question this ready access to information has been an extraordinarily positive development in the business and personal lives of people around the world. However, you have to be discerning about the source of the information that you are consuming. You also have to draw the line and recognize the things that you can figure out for yourself as opposed to matters that require professional assistance.
To this end the application of common sense is extraordinarily useful. What is the risk/reward when you are trying to decide between doing something yourself and engaging the services of an expert? For example, if your bedroom needs to be painted you may feel as though this is something you can tackle for yourself given a bit of information you acquire online. On the other hand, you’re probably not going to want to go to YouTube to find out how to cut your own hair.
Estate planning certainly falls into the category of something that you really don’t want to try to do on your own. There are websites out there offering do-it-yourself estate planning kits and software programs, but do you really want to entrust your legacy to an anonymous entity that you found on the ‘net? If you need heart or brain surgery, would you go to WebMD, review some information, and then perform it on yourself – with all of your loved ones relying on your success? Estate planning is a serious matter, and if you want it done right, you need to approach planning for the period of time immediately preceding your death in a very serious manner as well.
Preparing for all the eventualities of aging is not a job for amateurs or DIY enthusiasts. If you want to make sure that all of your bases are covered in an ironclad manner, you should retain the services of a licensed and experienced estate planning attorney. Information, regardless of how available it might be, should not be viewed as professional advice.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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