The Pitfalls of Writing One’s Own Will
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2020 – Those looking to save money by writing their own will should consider the following drawbacks before making that decision.
Wills are among many legal issues that people try to handle on their own. Countless websites offer “Do It Yourself” forms and pre-written wills, only requiring users to plug in their personal information. However, “Do It Yourself” wills have many pitfalls.
The importance of a comprehensive estate plan
The first thing to keep in mind when thinking about a will is that to be most effective, a will is just one element of an estate plan. While wills are incredibly important, they are not the only component. Wills have their limitations. Wills do not apply to every property type, including accounts that are jointly help or have “payable on death” designations. Wills cannot typically be used to avoid probate or avoid paying taxes. Wills are also not a good place to detail gifts that are conditional upon a certain event occurring, such as a grandchild graduating from college, getting married or having a child.
A comprehensive estate plan often involves other planning instruments, such as trusts. Trusts can be used to fill in the gaps that are left by a will. When someone drafts their own will, or uses a pre-written form to do so, the resulting will is not designed to work with other aspects of their estate planning strategy. This can create discrepancies or contradictions that may delay the disbursement of assets and, in some cases, end up defeating the very purpose of the will.
Complexities and Variances in the Law
A will is among the first places courts look to determine how someone wants their assets distributed. To be effective, a will must be clear. While no one wants to think about an estate dispute occurring after they pass, the reality is that estate disputes among family members are common.
Those who hope to write their own will are most often guided by internet research. While obtaining general knowledge about estate planning is a good idea, individuals who hope to write their own will do so at great risk. Estate planning laws are complex, change over time and vary between states.
A Will Should Reflect Individual Circumstances
Wills are intended to clarify what someone wants to be done with their assets after they pass. Wills that contain unclear terms or lack the precise language necessary may delay the probate process and jeopardize the drafter’s intent.
Attorney David W. Magann reminds those interested in drafting a will to consider what is at stake. Attorney Magann also notes that there is a common misconception regarding the cost of having a Florida estate planning attorney draft a will. Many do not realize that attorney fees are far less than expected.
Attorney David Magann is a Florida estate planning attorney with extensive experience writing wills and helping clients create comprehensive estate plans. Attorney Magann is a compassionate advocate who unceasingly pursues the interests of his clients and provides effective advice and counsel on a variety of legal issues, including social security disability, estate planning, veterans’ law and personal injury law. Attorney Magann has offices conveniently located in Brandon and Tampa.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618