Many people who look for cost cutting methods in estate planning may decide to write their own Last Will and Testament. Is this a safe way to go with your estate plan? The answer is no. If you want a safe and secure Will, you should consult an attorney.
May Not Cover Your Estate
Some legal websites and how-to books offer standard fill-in the blank Wills. The problem is universal Wills are not designed to cover every estate. There is a good chance some or all of your property or beneficiaries may be excluded. If a piece of property is left out of your Last Will and Testament, probate may be prolonged. If you accidentally leave out a beneficiary, he or she may be disinherited.
May Not Meet State Laws
Every state has its own laws regarding the creation and documentation of estate planning documents. An attorney will know and understand all laws that govern your Will. If you create your own Will, it may not be recognized by state law.
One common mistake in self-created legal documents is improper documentation of signatures. If your Will is not signed and notarized correctly, a court will deem it invalid and your estate will be settled by state intestacy laws. These laws will determine your heirs at law. If this happens, any beneficiaries you named in your self-written Will, who are not heirs at law, will be disinherited.
May Be Contested
If you create your own Will, there is a good chance a family member may contest it. A Will can be contested for many reasons: a lack of proper signature, if the contester claims you wrote the Will under the pressure or duress of someone else, or the contester makes the assertion that you were not mentally stable when you wrote your Will. In all of these cases, if proof cannot be provided to the contrary, your Will may be ruled invalid. The best way to avoid this is to seek the legal advice of a professional. Creating a solid Will with the help of an attorney may save your family thousands of dollars in probate fees.
Attorney at Law