TW is a good friend who is a pediatrician. He has tried Quicken’s will writing software, and also attended a multi-hour estate planning seminar arranged by his employer. The seminar was given by estate planners who were also hoping to get more customers for their services – which they gave a range of between $2500 and $10000 for a bulletproof estate plan that would stand up over time, and have considerations for a larger asset pool. They suggested to do it right through an estate planner, or not do it at all, and that the cost in incorrectly planning could be as much as 25% of the estate going to taxes.
His experience with Quicken was that it was too confusing, and that there were questions and terminology that prevented him from completing a will using their program. He was strongly supportive of a simpler solution, for simple cases, and generally liked and supported the idea of a place to plan that grows with you, and can tell you when you’ve outgrown the help it can provide. His biggest gripe with the Quicken solution was that it never explained WHY you needed to answer certain questions, and what implications they had.
We also talked about medical directives, and while he is a pediatrician, he is an advocate of people of any age having one. He gave great advice on how explaining the different aspects of life sustaining treatments (what is a feeding tube, etc) to people would give them much more information in order to make a decision. And, as Richard told us as well, the speed at which you need to make these decisions is impossible to control – especially without having considered them beforehand…The SJ Mercury News piece referenced in the Forum episode below says much of the same.