In today’s modern world, we rely on the internet for many tasks. Banking, shopping, ordering pizza and more can be achieved online. Some people also turn to the internet for more serious things, like creating a Will. This may not be a good idea because most online Will services do not take into account changes that may occur in our lives that an estate planning attorney has the experience and foresight to work around. Making a Will online can often be more trouble than it is worth and can lead to your heirs fighting in court when you pass.
While the ability for the individual to produce their own Will has always been legal, it is important to note that most people do not have experience in writing legal documents. It is more efficient and less time consuming to work with an attorney to create your Will. Even with online templates or directions, every individual’s situation and estate is unique. Cookie cutter documents are usually not good enough for your situation.
When You Really Need An Attorney
For specific situations, you should definitely create your Will with an attorney. Without an attorney present for the execution of the Will, it is easier for the document to be contested upon your death. The bigger your estate, the more likely you will need an attorney for the document. If you are considering disinheritance of a spouse or child, you should consult with an estate planning attorney.
Additionally, if you think that someone may contest the Will upon your death, you should create it with your attorney. It is also easier for an heir to claim you were not of sound mind at the time of signing the Will if it was not created with an attorney present.
When you make a Will online, it is easier to make mistakes or omissions that can be hard to fix post-mortem. You can avoid such mistakes and omissions by working with your estate planning attorney. He or she will help you outline all of your wishes so that you don’t miss a beat. When you put your trust in an online Will, or if you fill in a template document, your heirs may end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees contest an ambiguously worded or incomplete Will in Surrogate’s Court.
Legal Issues with Cookie Cutter Wills
Laws regarding Wills can vary state-to-state. When you follow online directions or templates to create a Will, you may be producing document that does not follow specifications that fit your state’s requirements. A poorly worded Will can be stuck in probate for months or even years simply because it does not fit the legally required guidelines set by the state.
Frequent issues that come up with a homemade Will can include, but are not limited to, naming an executor with little financial/legal advice, designating pets as heirs, conditions that are difficult or impossible to enforce, end-of-life or living will decisions within the main document, funeral plans in the Will, distribution of heirlooms and ambiguous instructions for blended family groups.
For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.