For most people, a Last Will and Testament serves as the foundation of their estate plan. If you do not yet have at least a basic Will in place, there is no time like the present to execute one. When you do decide to create your Will, you may wonder if you need an estate planning attorney to assist you, or if you can create one on your own. A Bowie estate planning attorney at Sinclair Prosser Gasior explains why it is in your best interest to work with an estate planning attorney when you decide to create your Will.
Do I Really Need an Attorney to Create a Will?
Advertisements on the internet for DIY legal forms make it sound so easy to create your Will without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Just fill in the blanks and sign your name. In the long run, however, taking that route may cost you and your loved ones far more than you saved by foregoing the assistance of an attorney. Common problems you may unwittingly create by creating a Will without the help of an estate planning attorney include:
- Using a form with out of date language or law. Most DIY Last Will and Testament forms have been floating around the internet for years. Applicable laws may have changed in the interim, making some of the language in the form, or the entire form, stale from a legal standpoint. If the language used in the form is out of date it will almost certainly prompt litigation.
- Causing a failed interaction between documents. Using a DIY Will is problematic by itself; however, most people don’t stop there. Your estate planning documents must work in harmony with each other. The more DIY legal forms you try and use together, the higher the odds are that they will result in failure because you need experienced legal advice to accomplish this.
- Not distributing your entire estate. One of the primary reasons for executing a Will is to avoid the state’s intestate succession laws. If any assets are left out of your Will, however, an intestate estate proceeding will have to be initiated. Unfortunately, the language in many DIY Wills does just that – results in assets being left out, triggering the state’s intestate succession laws.
- Creating a Will that is not state specific. Many of the laws that govern wills and estates are state laws. For this reason, a Last Will and Testament must be state specific to ensure it will be valid. Many DIY forms, however, are generic and do not include state specific language and/or laws.
- Failing to execute the Will properly. For a Will to be valid, it must be executed using the proper procedures. Those procedures vary from one state to the next. A generic DIY Will form won’t explain how you need to execute the document to comply with your state’s laws.
To prevent creating a problematic Will, be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney when you are ready to create your Last Will and Testament.
Contact a Bowie Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about creating your Last Will and Testament, or if you are ready to get started on your Will, contact an experienced Bowie estate planning attorney at Sinclair Prosser Gasior by calling (410) 573-4818 to schedule an appointment.