Most online companies that provide do-it-yourself legal documents are set up to create a profit. I didn’t create Your Legacy Lives to make a profit. I’m on a mission to make sure that every Californian has an estate plan in place and doesn’t end up in probate court by default. Your Legacy Lives is here to educate and empower Californians to take control of their life and death rather than letting California make these important, personal decisions for them.
Only 30% of us have an estate plan. That means about 26 million Californians are leaving things up to the state. In person, I can only help about 2 families a week, and only those who can afford to pay typical attorney’s fees. It breaks my heart to turn people who need help away and it was equally as hard to refer them to online alternatives that I myself would not trust.
Why do we care?
– – Because after 16 years as an estate planning attorney, I get to see the horror stories every day. I get to see how overloaded the probate court is and how miserable it is to go through that process – and believe me, it’s not the wealthy that are filling up the courts. It’s most of US – the middle income families.
The problem with many online legal document software programs is that they are set up to make high profits
and to do so, they are usually generic, cookie cutter PDF’s – – not custom, changeable documents. However, people’s lives just aren’t cookie cutter. People have unique wishes and circumstances, and people’s lives change. (think marriage, divorce, children, houses). Estate plans need to be able to change with life’s changes.
Most programs don’t trust people to make their own decisions so they just assume what you would want rather than educating YOU, the expert on your life, to make your own informed decisions. Even attorneys are guilty of this practice.
The program I created provides the educational videos where I explain every paragraph of every document and all the choices and options YOU get to make. Why would I assume I know what you would want?
Because the other programs don’t bother to educate their customers, they don’t trust them to make future changes on their own. This is the most frustrating part to me. After spending hours answering all the cookie cutter questions, their programs kick out a document that I’m not allowed to change on my own. So, I had to start all over from the beginning and hope that by answering their online questions differently that the choices their program was automatically making for my life and death might be different!
In contrast, you get total control over your documents when you download them from Your Legacy Lives – forever! You can update them using a word processor and just change the language. This horrifies most attorneys who don’t trust the average person to do it “right.” This patronizing attitude disempowers the user and infuriates me. It reminds me of why Georgetown refused to print my law degree in English – they think Latin is “toney.” Given that most Californians don’t speak Latin, it just makes the divide that much deeper.
It’s time to empower people, not belittle them.
It’s time to educate people and not make assumptions. It’s time for everyone to write their own plan instead of letting California write it for them.
I’m all for hiring an attorney to make your life easy and create your estate plan for you – if you have more money than time. For those who have more time than money and relatively simple family structures, why not try it yourself. If you get stuck, just hire help on a limited basis to answer your legal questions. If you’re not confident about something, hire an attorney to review your work.
This approach can save you thousands of dollars up front and for the rest of your life.
Imagine that every time you want to make a change, you don’t have to call the lawyer. Since you wrote it in the first place, you can update it easily – at no charge!
Get started with one of our 3 free estate planning documents today at www.yourlegacylives.com. It’s your life, your time, and your wishes that should be followed.
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