I now have a a favorite do-it yourself, or DIY estate planning software. I started practicing law in 2004, at a time when LegalZoom propelled its popularity. I received a phone call from someone who wanted me to help him fill out the online questionairre. He did not accept the fee I suggested.
Since then, numerous companies allow people to create their own legal documents: Rocket Lawyer, Quicken, Amazon, US Legal Forms. Each of them produce similar documents through competitive software engines that I don’t see much of a difference between the. A couple of them include a professional network for an additional fee. So far I have consistently declined to join any of those networks. Until now.
Two months ago, I attended an event in Salt Lake City. That event included a presentation by LegacyShieldSM (LS). I loved it! Since then I have investigated the platform thoroughly, signed up for it as a client, and signed up as part of the professional attorney network. LS is so much more than doc prep and storage. Check them out at this link to see how it works in detail. Here is the Frank’s Notes version.
The Basic Service
The first thing you might notice about LS is that you cannot sign up directly. You need to sign up through an advisor. I simply enter your name, email address and phone number and LS will send you a verification email on how to proceed. At the end I will tell you how to register.
The Basic Service is called Shield, which includes a legal and financial components. The graphic above is this service.
The Legal section includes:
- My Secure Vault – Keep all your important documents in one place for easy reference in this secure vault. Organize all your essential documents, including your will, birth certificate, marriage certificate, power of attorney, and advanced health directives – whatever your loved ones may need. This will ensure they know where to find everything. Although the original may still be needed, you can provide a copy and make sure your family knows where to find the original.
- Life Administration – is the information about your life, the items and things you interact with on a daily basis that may need to be cancelled or to which your family may need access. This section divides into finance, insurance, online accounts, memberships, utility services, storage locations and subscriptions.
- My Wishes – You can leave your final wishes for your family here. Critical decisions will need to be made very quickly. This section will help guide your family through recommended contacts, resting place documents, any services you want, special ceremonies, an obituary and special wishes.
- My Life Stories – You write your own story. What do you want people to know about you?
FinancialView works with over 20,000 financial institutions to help you track your accounts, monitor transactions, create budgets, goals and reports. This is more comprehensive than than the financial information you can enter in the life administration section.
Shield allows you to create your own team of notifiers, authenticators, recipients and advisors. You control who has access to what, when. Shield is $4.95 per month. This is the part of LS I signed up for. At a minimum, even if you do not need any documents at this time, I strongly recommend signing up for Shield.
DIY Estate Planning Documents
I will is available as a stand alone addition for $50. The program includes other documents and services bundled together as a flat fee or monthly subscription. I find the document engine easy to use and thorough, asking all of the questions I would ask a new client.
- Will – Provides for the distribution of assets and designation of guardianship for minor children at death.
- Medical/Financial Power of Attorney – These two distinct documents allow a designated person to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf.
- Living Trust – Allows the transfer of assets at death to occur by bypassing the expensive and time consuming process of probate and keeps all of the information private.
- Living Will or Advance Healthcare Directive – Allows you to make medical decisions in advance of needing medical care and not being able to make the decisions on your own.
- Gift Deed – Allows you to title real estate to a living trust in order to fund the trust with assets to avoid the probate process.
DIY Estate Planning AND a Legal Review
Attorney Review is one of the stand alone products available. Currently $99, this service provides an affordable fee for a one-time review by an Estate Planning attorney to discuss and review your Estate Planning documents. The attorney will discuss one’s needs and provide sound legal advice and recommendations.
This is where I come in. If you purchase any of the stand alone documents or bundles, also purchase Review. This is not help to create the documents but a review of the documents you create. The review includes a chat about your goals for the document(s) you created and my opinion of whether the documents as you created them will accomplish those goals.
There you go. Docs you create, reviewed by an estate planning attorney, for about 1/4 of what I charge of you come to see me.
How To Register for LEGACYSHIELDSM
Email me at email@example.com with your first and last name, email address you want to use to receive an email from LS and a contact phone number. LS Sends a registration e-mail. Sign up for Shield. Add the documents or bundles you want at this time. Remember to include Review.
Over 70% of Americans pass away without any estate planning in place. Once you put anything off, it is easier to continue putting it off. Then its too late. Let’s get started. Email me today. firstname.lastname@example.org