Among the types of estate planning, a last will and testament are among the most common. What is a will, and do I need one? This typewritten document is the legal tool that helps you communicate your wishes as to how your assets will be disbursed. Today, we are seeing many people turn to DIY Wills and Trusts.
Your will helps you to state the recipient of your assets, determine your estate executor, make provisions for probable life situations, and make sure that your last wishes are backed by the court or legal system. That’s why it’s quite alarming that a lot of people do not have wills even when they know how important this financial planning document is.
When it’s time to write your will, psychological factors come into the mix because of how strenuous it can be to face the fact that you’ll pass away someday. It’s also not easy to do estate planning since you won’t be around to see the outcome.
Do it yourself will kit – Do DIY wills make sense?
In a bid to simplify the process and help you write your own will, many vendors claim to offer the best do it yourself will kit. What you get is a DIY will template, online forms, books, and software. These documents are sold as a cheaper way to help you create a will rather than hire an estate planning lawyer to help you.
Would we recommend DIY will kits for your last will and statement? Not at all.
Just about anything could go wrong when using a free do-it-yourself will software and template. The risks range from getting the document wordings wrong, to badly handling the intricacies of legal formalities involved in signing and witnessing. Lots of things are involved to make a will valid.
At Thomas-Walters, we do not encourage our clients to use will-in-a-box products. This is not about the fear of losing our clients to these products. In fact, many people come to us for help because of their confusion about different aspects of DIY programs.
Estate planning or drafting a will is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Lots of obscure assets and moving parts are involved. You have to consider different scenarios which is why this plug-and-play procedure may not cut it. These DIY will documents and templates only give you a false sense of protection.
Hiring an estate planning attorney vs. DIY will software
If you’re confused about hiring an estate planning lawyer or whether to go with a free do it yourself will kit, that’s alright. We are here to help you make a sound decision. Here’s why you should hire an estate planning lawyer:
Attention to detail
What do you do when your pet develops some health issues? You go to the vet. And when your vehicle engine light notification comes on, you immediately contact your mechanic. Getting in touch with experts to get opinions and advice about things that we can’t do on our own is the norm. So, why should you treat writing your will differently?
An estate planning attorney is trained to be detail-oriented. When writing your last will and testament, the small details matter. Your attorney will be able to cross-check and help you cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. They will also be there to help you consider issues that you might miss on your own. Although DIY will kits are programmed to ask you some questions, they are limited and not very detailed.
Remember how you always seek a second opinion from an editor when you write a contract or book? You want them to proofread and ensure that no detail is left out. You want to be sure that you’ve got your tenses and spellings correct.
When you get in touch with an estate planning attorney at Thomas-Walters, you benefit from a 1-to-1 consultation. This is designed to help you detect and avoid common mistakes that are usually associated with DIY wills and trusts. Some websites offer DIY software but still require a fee to have an experienced attorney go over whatever you come up with. This might seem like a good move but may not be the best.
Here’s why: The estate laws are different in most states and you can’t guarantee that your will shall be reviewed by an attorney certified in your state. They may also be unaware of any new laws because estate laws change regularly. The best option is to consult a board-certified attorney in person who will get to know you and help you craft the best will.
Although you’ll likely not spend so much on DIY wills and trusts at first, your loved ones could pay the price if you pass away and leave behind a will full of mistakes. We’ve seen cases where a son sues his stepmom to get a bigger chunk of the estate. Or a surviving spouse tries to keep the adult children from accessing some of the inheritance left behind.
Your will must be precise and your estate plan must be clear-cut to avoid having any gray areas. It also protects your family from pain and legal actions in the future. With the help of a lawyer, you’ll be the one deciding what happens, not a judge.
Avoid DIY Wills – Let us help you create your will
When you have a legal expert working with you and guiding you on how to create and finalize your will, you leave nothing to chance. Do not gamble with your last will and testament. Take the right steps by contacting Thomas-Walters, PLLC Estate Planning to help you create a will that truly reflects your wishes.
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