If it’s on the Internet, It Must Be True…Right? (Part I)

While the Internet has been a great resource and improved the quality of our lives in many ways, in one way, it has not been good. An orthopedic surgeon recently shared that helping patients was much less frustrating before the Internet. When a patient with knee pain used to see the surgeon, the patient would ask the doctor what was wrong and what should be done about it. Today, many patients come to the doctor “pre-diagnosed” and armed with solutions all found on the Internet, many of which are not appropriate for that patient.

People often believe things they read on the Internet without question—as the commercial says, “if it’s on the internet, it must be true”—and this can cause them to make poor decisions when they read inaccurate content on the internet. While there is a lot of good estate planning information on the Internet, not all of it is accurate.

Several clients have told me they read on the Internet that they don’t need a trust unless they have $3 to $4 million in assets. This is an example of Internet content you shouldn’t believe. There are many people with much less in assets who are much better off because they have a well-written trust. Unfortunately, this misguided internet guidance leads many with assets less than $3 or $4 million (most people) not to consult with an estate planning attorney about their situation. This ultimately causes them to avoid getting a trust that could be extremely beneficial for them and their loved ones.