There are a number of ways Americans can create a will on their own. There are books, online forms and computer software that can easily be found to do just that. But is a do-it-yourself will as effective as one drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney?
In almost every case, the answer to this question is: No!
While proponents of these products will say that any will is better than no will, that’s not entirely true. In fact, if a DIY will was not properly executed in accordance with Texas probate laws, it will be found invalid by a probate court and the deceased’s estate would be handled as if there were no will at all.
Reasons Not To Use A DIY Will Kit
One size does not fit all
The self help products you can get to help you create a will are generic by nature, but very few estates are generic. Many Americans believe they don’t have much to put in a will, but this isn’t usually true. Everything from life insurance to bank accounts to real estate to your online “assets” should be addressed in your will. While a DIY kit may provide a basic framework for a legal document, it can’t tailor a will to your individual needs.
No one to offer help
If you use a template from a book or a website to draft a will and find that you don’t understand something or aren’t sure what the right way to fill it out is, who will you turn to? You can Google it, of course. But internet research is not exactly a substitute for a law degree and years of experience, and you’re just as likely to end up with the wrong answer as the right one.
When you use a Houston estate planning attorney, you have a real, live person to ask questions, to get advice from, and to draft your will in accordance with the most up-to-date laws and regulations.
Potential for Challenges
A will can be contested whether it was drafted from a template found online or by an attorney with decades of experience. The difference is in the result of such a legal challenge. The challenge of a will drafted through a DIY kit is more likely to be successful than probate litigation over an attorney-drafted will.
If your will is invalidated by a probate court, then those whom you wanted to inherit your estate might be left with nothing, while those you intended to leave out of your will could instead receive an inheritance.
You may save some money by going with a cheap DIY will kit, but those few dollars saved could cost your loved ones a lot more money, time and stress later on.
Do you need help with an estate plan? Contact Morris Ostrom Law today for assistance creating wills, powers of attorney, trusts and more. Our experienced Houston estate planning lawyers can advise you on the best plan for your specific needs.