Atlanta Estate Planning, Wills & Probate | Siedentopf Law

Are DIY Wills Legal?

There are various reasons why you might think about creating your own Will or using a low-cost online solution. But, are DIY Wills legal?

Although many reasons for considering DIY Wills come up, among the most common are:

  • Reducing Cost

While concerns for the cost of having a Will professionally drafted are real, the risks, both financially and emotionally to your estate and family, can far outstrip what you would have paid to have it drawn up by a qualified estate attorney in the first place.

  • Insufficient Assets

Most people greatly underestimate their net worth. If you own a home, you need an effective Will.

  • Belief in the simplicity of their financial situation

There is a lot more that goes into the efficacy and validity of your Will than the complexity of your personal life. It is wise to get an expert to help you sort through the details.

Click here to learn more about the risks of DIY estate planning.

But whether creating your own Will is a good idea or not is a different question than the overall legality of the document itself. 

The legality of Wills is governed by the state in which you live. The elements necessary to make a Will legal vary from state to state. Not following the rules established in your state can invalidate a Will making it useless to your family and loved ones and causing protracted, costly, and emotionally draining fights in court.

When you die, your family will present your Will to the court for probate. Probate is the process of proving, or determining the validity of your Will. The court will examine the Will to make sure it meets all the qualifications of a valid Will in your state. This includes looking over the method of creation of the Will, your state of mind when the Will was created, and whether the Will and any codicils were properly witnessed and affirmed according to the laws of your state. Questions about any of these items, or other provisions that may not conform to state law, can derail your wishes and cause the court to probate your estate as though you had no Will at all. This means the court decides who gets what, not you. Fighting this can cost your family a lot of money, time and heartache at a time when they are already grieving your loss. 

You need to examine your reasons for having a Will. It may be that you want to make sure that what you’ve worked hard for throughout your life continues to benefit the people you care about after you’re gone. It could be that you feel making a Will would make things easier for those that you’ve left behind – so they don’t have to wonder or fight about what they believe you would have wanted. Whatever your reasons, you want to be sure that the Will you create will accomplish what you intended. 

Unless you are young, single, have no children, do not own property, and have few to no assets, a DIY solution is just too risky.

There are many aspects of estate planning that are simply not addressed by do-it-yourself solutions. Knowing how to properly design a valid Will and other end of life documents that address your goals and take your family’s specific needs into account requires the expertise of estate planning professionals like those at Seidentopf Law. Don’t risk your family’s future to an ineffective, and possibly legally insufficient, do-it-yourself solution. Call the experts at Seidentopf Law today to secure your family’s tomorrow.

If you have questions about preparing end-of-life documents, schedule a phone or video consultation with Siedentopf Law today.

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