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Many websites offer customized, do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning documents.  Although such products are seemingly convenient, using them could create serious and expensive legal problems for heirs.

These digital services appear to offer a cost-effective and easy alternative to visiting an estate planning or elder law attorney. But is online estate planning worth the convenience and initial savings? While online services might work fine if you have little or no property, small savings or investments, and a traditional family tree, anyone whose needs are not simple should not try to create an estate plan without the help of an attorney.

And you’ll likely need a lawyer to definitively determine whether your needs are indeed simple. Do you have an estate that is taxable under state or federal law? Do you own significant amounts of tax-deferred retirement plans? Do you know how to fund a re