Some people may decide to download and fill out DIY wills to avoid having to pay for the services of an experienced wills and estates lawyer. However, using the DIY option often comes with several challenges that may end up invalidating your estate plan. Below are some shortcomings that you should think about before you decide to use generic wills.
Legal effect issues
The internet has numerous websites that offer generic wills for individuals who do not want to hire lawyers. The biggest risk with such documents is that they may not be tailored to meet the specific legal requirements in your area. For example, the law may require you to have several witnesses if your will has a mixture of typed and handwritten sections. Your estate plan may be challenged and disregarded in case you were unfortunate enough to select forms that fall short of the legal requirements in your area. A competent estates lawyer can ensure that your will meets all the legal requirements.
Potential for elective shares
Someone that is using a generic form to make his or her estate plan may intentionally or unintentionally leave out some individuals, such as an estranged spouse. Such an omitted person can then launch a successful challenge against your last will. The law can then give that individual an elective share (a portion set by law) of your estate. A competent deceased estates lawyer can draft your will in a way that will exclude individuals that would otherwise be considered to be entitled to a portion of your estate.
Limited attention to complex situations
Generic wills are also bad because they do not give ample attention to various complex situations that wills should address. For example, a person with a disabled child often has to make detailed plans for the welfare and life of that child. Similarly, children from previous relationships also complicate estate planning further. Estates lawyers assess the specific situation of an individual before drafting a will that gives sufficient attention to the unique factors that complicate the estate planning process.
It is possible to use those generic will forms to make an estate plan. However, such DIY documents tend to be helpful to a small fraction of individuals with very simple estates. Trying to save the money that you would pay an attorney can cause costly problems when you are gone. It is, therefore, better for you to consult an experienced estates lawyer so that you can make a credible estate plan.