It is tempting to try to create a will on your own, outside of a lawyer’s office. Bookstores, online services, libraries, and even friends may present templates for you to create your will. Your goal may be to save money and time and create the will yourself. However, when you make your will without an attorney, you are taking an enormous risk that is often not worth taking. Here are some of the most significant problems that happen when you take on creating your will outside of a lawyer’s office.
The Will Ends Up Being Invalid
The laws regarding wills fall under the area of probate law. This is a massive and complex area of law. So much so that:
- Law schools have specialized classes regarding wills and estates;
- Most law firms do not handle the creation of wills; and
- Creating wills is a legal specialty chosen by certain lawyers.
Probate legal matters attorneys take legal education classes to remain abreast of any changes in estate law. When you work with a probate legal matters lawyer, you get the benefit of knowing that every aspect of law regarding the execution for your will is valid. The average person is not up to date on these complex laws and how they might relate to your given situation. Random online templates and good intentions don’t create a valid will. But decades of experience and legal knowledge can provide you with the assurance you need to rest easy, knowing that your wishes will be carried out after your death.
The only way to get this assurance that your will is drafted properly and in compliance with all legal standards is to use a firm that specializes in probate law. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., specializes in estate planning. We know probate law, and we know how to draft a will that will hold up in probate after you pass. Even attorneys who do not practice probate law hire attorneys who specialize in estate planning to create their wills. They do so to avoid the problems that can arise when you make your will outside of a attorney’s office, and you should too!
Your Will Won’t Be a Part of a Full Estate Plan
An estate plan is an overall legal and financial strategy intended to make sure a person’s wishes are fully known at the time of their death. A well-rounded estate plan helps to minimize difficulties for loved ones and protect resources. When a lawyer creates your estate plan, they analyze tax issues that may impact your estate, and create a plan that minimizes the tax burden on your beneficiaries. A will is almost always an essential part of a full estate plan. In addition to a will, thorough estate plans often include:
- Living wills, and
- Powers of Attorney
Therefore, even if by some slim chance you avoid some of the problems when making a will on your own, you are not necessarily out of the woods. Your estate may not be fully protected if you did not have an attorney craft a full estate plan. Now, not every person needs all of the documents discussed above. But, without question, your estate will be stronger when it includes a valid will coupled with any other document that your specific situation requires. Who knows what you need? A skilled will, trust, and probate legal matters attorney.
Special Circumstances Not Covered
Another significant problem when you make your will outside of a lawyer’s office is the lack of coverage for special circumstances. A will needs to have intricate wording and clear tax strategies under certain conditions. Some of these include:
- Protection for a disabled child or elder parent;
- Provisions regarding someone who may contest your will;
- Clear wording if there are stepchildren and foster children;
- Protection to keep your property from your creditors;
- Adjustments for a life partner to whom you are not married; and
- Wording regarding future children you might have.
In addition, if you own or have an interest in a business, you may encounter problems or questions when attempting to make your own will. However, an estate planning attorney can help you properly transfer that business through your estate plan.
Lack of Support Later
One of the least thought of, but most serious problems you may encounter when you make your will outside a lawyer’s office, are issues that arise after completing the will. For example, if you make your will yourself, without the help of a lawyer. If you later realize that you made a mistake that may cost your beneficiaries after your death, do you know how to properly change that provision of your will? Do you know exactly what must be filed to ensure that your changes are valid and enforceable?
And what about after your death? Who will your beneficiaries turn to for help once your will enters probate? What if they have questions or need representation? If you’ve used an estate planning lawyer, they will likely be available to help your beneficiaries through the probate process. Your beneficiaries would need to hire that same lawyer, but at least that is an option.
Avoid the problems that can arise when you make your will outside a lawyer’s office. If not for your own peace of mind, do it for your loved ones. As an attorney creates your will, they remind you of other important steps that need to be taken such as:
- Checking the ownership of assets;
- Checking and updating the beneficiary designation on applicable accounts like your pension;
- Choosing a funeral home and burial services; and
- Specifying medical donations you would like to make.
There are many factors that you need to consider when creating a valid will and overall estate plan. The best option is to work with a probate attorney and avoid problems when you make your will outside a legal practitioner’s office.
The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C.
Attorney Andrew Lamkin leads the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. Our firm focuses on helping citizens of the greater Long Island, NY area. We are known for creating long-lasting relationships and handling all aspects of estate planning and more. Come see us for a free consultation. You can contact us online, by calling 516-605-0625 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you and your family need help, please turn to us.