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The Issue With DIY Wills

Posted by DLG Team on September 20, 2019

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In an online world, in which consumers are so used to do it yourself solutions that tend to save money and time, it is not surprising there is a growing trend of people turning to do it yourself wills. Your will is one of the most important documents that you will produce in your lifetime. A will makes sure that your family is taken care of in the event of your death. Due to the significance of the will, it is best to seek the help of a professional attorney to prepare your will.

One of the worst outcomes of preparing your own will is that it can be rendered invalid simply due to a technical error. An invalid will is the same as having no will at all. An invalid will means a court will distribute your assets according to law, which may not reflect the intent you had when you wrote the will.

Understanding the rules

One of the reasons to hire a professional attorney is that they are a specialist in the state that your will, will be recognized. Each state has different rules and regulations, with the do it yourself sites, there is no guarantee that the lawyer reviewing your will is well versed on your particular state laws. For example, many states require the person you appoint as your representative live in your state. In the event, your representative is invalid; the courts could appoint someone who may not represent you in the manner in which you intended.

State law changes regularly; it is best to meet personally with a representative who understands the complex nature of your state rules.

Complicated tax rules

Many people go the do it yourself route because they believe, you choose who you want your various assets to be passed to, and the court carries it out. However, passing assets has various tax implications that you need to be advised on before making these types of decisions. For example, you can pass your physical home down to a spouse or other beneficiary with no tax implications. However, if that house is sold and you give the proceeds to your children, that money might be treated differently by the IRS. An experienced attorney will help you understand potential tax implications and advise you on how to pass your assets down in a manner that is beneficial to your family.

Definition of family

In today’s world, families come in all shapes and sizes. However, a computer program is not designed to ask you more in-depth questions about your family make up. For example, if you have three biological children and one stepchild, you may enter online will that you have four children. However, when you pass away, only your biological kids will receive their inheritance because courts only recognize biological children. A good lawyer will get to know you better and ask the critical questions about your family so that your belongings are distributed just as you had intended.

A will is supposed to be designed to make your family’s life easier in the event of your death. Online wills may seem easy and more cost-effective up front, but if there are any issues, it will cost your family members their money and time to try and get the court to recognize the real intent of your wishes. When it comes to wills and estate planning, it is best to make an appointment with a trusted lawyer who will take the time to get the paperwork correct. Please feel free to reach out to our offices for a consultation on your current estate planning needs.