Are DIY Wills are as effective as people say?
Living in a tech-savvy world has many perks to making life easy, even down to planning your Will and Testament. The benefits of having a Will allows your final wishes to be carried out as planned once you pass away, rather than the state getting the final say according to the law. With the cost and convenience of an online DIY Wills, it’s an understandably attractive opportunity; but as a professional estate planning and probate attorney, I’ve dealt with plenty of cases that lead to expensive and unforeseen mistakes down the road. Here are 3 important must-knows about online DIY Will generators:
- Your will may not honor state laws.
Every state is different and in Texas, we have a relatively simple probate process. To understand how this works, probate is the legal process of submitting your Will to the court so that your wishes can be carried out. Our courts allow the executor of an estate to distribute property based on someone’s Will without their supervision; but for it to be unsupervised, the Will must have specific language and give the executor certain powers. If your Will leaves out a certain term or phrase, it will be out of accordance with state laws, and the probate process becomes more complicated and more expensive. Be mindful that online Will generators don’t always include the necessary language to take advantage of Texas’ probate process, which can cost you, even more, to correct down the road.
- Your Will may not be custom to your circumstances.
When you meet with an attorney who practices estate planning and probate, they can diagnose and forecast the right protection for any potential problems with your estate. DIY Will generators can only respond to the information you put in, making your Will generic and not tailored to your situation. For example, DIY Will makers won’t ask you about your family dynamics; someone may be disqualified from receiving an inheritance from you; you may have underage beneficiaries in the future, and the list goes on. By not choosing to have your estate assessed by an attorney, you take the risk of needing an attorney (at a much higher cost) to fix the problems that a cookie-cutter Will won’t guard against. When it comes to estate planning, some problems can only be prevented with a Will or a Trust that can’t be fixed after-the-fact.
- Your Will can work against you without careful execution.
The Will signing ceremony is vital. Online Will generators may walk you through how to properly sign your Will: 2 witnesses and a notary; but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s the time where we guard against future claims of duress or incapacity. Attorneys have a clear and proven process for Will signings. We intentionally ask you certain questions in front of your witnesses and only allow certain people in the room when you are signing your documents. This process is another way we prevent any possible litigation against your estate after you pass.
Most clients who use an online Will generator believe two things about their estate: (1) It’s too simple to need a “real Will” and (2) no one is going to fight over anything in it. The hard truth is that smaller estates are the estates that don’t have the resources to fight a litigation claim. It’s even more important that modest estates guard against future claims. However you decide to complete your estate plan, you must get your Will done and consult an attorney to tie up any loose ends you may not consider.
Get started protecting your legacy with a careful and precise attorney. Call us at (214) 974-894- for a free consultation.