You can find almost anything online, including DIY (“Do your Own” Last Will templates that enable everyday people to attempt to create their own Last Will and Testament. While these templates may seem like a good idea, DIY wills are risky. Understanding the advantages and risks of writing your own will can help you decide whether or not a DIY will is right for you.
Why Some People Use Will Templates
There are many reasons that people choose to use will templates online.
- Online templates are affordable.
- Using a program online is easier than seeing a lawyer.
- Many people assume that a will is a simple document and a lawyer need not be involved.
- Some people just like doing things themselves.
Online templates do not take into account the specific situation and circumstances of an individual. For example, in the case of a married person who plans to leave everything to his or her spouse, an online will template may not contain provisions for children/step children – or effectively address a situation where a spouse dies first – or where the parties die together! Even in what appear to be straightforward cases, writing your own will may be risky.
Why Will Templates Have Risk
Despite the advantages of DIY wills, there are a number of risks that make these documents problematic for many people. Below are some of the most common problems associated with DIY wills.
- Simple mistakes could render the document invalid. There are many ways to inadvertently render a will invalid. Failure to sign and date the document properly, failure to sign the document before witnesses and other seemingly small infractions could mean that your carefully written document may not be legally binding. Even the appointment of a representative for the administration of your estate can be simplified if done properly. Having a lawyer on hand would ensure that these mistakes are not made.
- DIY wills typically only work in simple scenarios. Many people have special requests that do not fit well in a template. Incorrect wording and other mistakes can lead to misinterpretations and other problems. Not understanding the titling of your assets can invalidate certain provisions. State law requires that certain individuals cannot be disinherited. Not leaving someone a bequest must be handled properly, in order to avoid a will contest.
- Sorting out an invalid will could take years and cost money. If your will is incorrectly written, a good portion of your estate may be spent straightening out associated legal problems. The detrimental effect upon relationships among your loved ones cannot be quantified.
- Fighting a legal battle after your death will put your loved ones through unnecessary trauma. Once you’re gone, your loved ones will need time to grieve. Fighting a legal battle over your estate could make this experience more traumatic for your remaining family and friends.
- If your will is not properly written, your wishes may never be fully realized. A part of your legacy lies in your wishes for your estate and your family members. The only way to ensure that your wishes will be fully followed is to have a legally binding document drafted by a knowledgeable lawyer.
Contact Your Lawyer
When it’s time to write your will, contact a trusted and reputable lawyer. If you decide to write your own will, have it reviewed by a qualified lawyer. At Covelli Law Offices in Pittsburgh, our skilled professionals can review your will or write a legally binding will to ensure that your final wishes will be followed. For an appointment, contact us today at 412-653-5000.