Today, we can DIY anything – home repairs, crafts, food, clothing. But what about legal matters like estate planning? Should you attempt to do-it-yourself when it comes to drafting a will? This is a question that is commonly asked of attorneys. After all, you can find DIY will forms and kits online and in office supply stores, so it can’t be that hard, right?
The fact is, drafting a will using an online kit may not be “hard” (as in difficult), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be mistake free, or even legally-binding. Here are estate planning attorney Megan Daic’s advice on 5 reasons you should not DIY your own will.
5 Reasons You Should NOT DIY Your Own Will
- A Will Must be Free of Errors: If you draft your own will and there are mistakes, the probate process may become complicated. You won’t be around to clarify your meaning or correct errors, and it is your surviving loved ones who will bear the confusion and tension errors can cause. DIY wills often contain significant errors, such as:
- Failing to sign the will
- Failing to update the will
- Improperly adding or amending the will (which can nullify wishes and affect execution)
- Forgetting to tell a loved one or executor where the will is kept
- Wording Matters: No matter how well developed your vocabulary, DIY wills often suffer from a lack of specific language relevant to probate law. DIY wills are often drafted using vague or easily misinterpreted language that can confuse or destroy what the will is designed to do.
- Incorrect Assumptions: Contingencies (events that cannot be predicted) are as common as a cold in estate planning. No two estates are the same, and no two wills should be drafted in the same way. That is why DIY wills are dangerous – they cannot address contingencies or prepare you and your loved ones for managing them.
- Handwritten Wills may be Invalid: In order for your will to be considered valid (legally binding), it must be written following proper guidelines, be witnessed, and in most cases, be notarized. Many DIY wills do not instruct or properly encourage these protective measures. DIY wills also often do not take into consideration individual state laws. An invalid will is as helpful to you and your loved ones as no will at all.
- Attorney Fees are Reasonable: Hiring an attorney to draft your will may be more expensive than a DIY kit, but it is an investment that is worthwhile and reasonable in comparison to the heartache often caused by an ill-drafted or not legally binding will.
Need Help Drafting Your Will?
If you need help drafting or amending a will, or need one reviewed to be sure it is valid, contact Daic Law today. Schedule a free consultation with our Texas estate planning attorney to be sure that you are on the right track toward estate planning success. Call our office at (713) 808-5246, or send us an email at email@example.com to get started.