In today’s digital world, do-it-yourself (DIY) options for creating legal documents, including templates for wills, are readily available online. They may seem cost-effective and convenient, but they can expose you to pitfalls that may have serious consequences for your estate and beneficiaries.
Ambiguities, omissions and errors in DIY wills can lead to costly disputes and delays for your heirs and ultimately thwart your final wishes. Here is why a DIY will is not advisable:
A DIY will is not tailored to your unique circumstances
Online wills take a “boilerplate” approach that is ill-advised when crafting your estate plans. Depending on individual situations and objectives, what works for some may not work for everyone. For instance, if you have children from a prior marriage, have minor children or are in a domestic partnership, you should craft estate plans that specifically address such matters.
There is a high likelihood of legal challenges
A DIY will may not adhere to legal formalities, such as its proper execution, making it susceptible to potential disputes and challenges from heirs or other interested parties. Additionally, errors in the document or vague language can lead to contested interpretations which can be a breeding ground for costly and lengthy legal battles that can diminish your estate and legacy.
You may not understand the tax implications of a DIY will
Using a DIY will can expose your heirs to unnecessary tax burdens you might not have factored into your plans. Your estate may be subject to higher tax liabilities if you fail to adopt effective tax planning strategies or explore other estate planning tools.
Estate planning is more than just drafting a will. Seeking the necessary guidance on other essential documents like living wills, trusts and powers of attorney can help ensure comprehensive estate plans that address all aspects of your wishes. We help our clients create the estate plans they need. Call us at 814-833-2222 to learn more.