If you are thinking about preparing your own will, you may not realize how many things could go wrong along the way. Learn more about the consequences of making a mistake in your will and why getting legal help is a better option.
An Incorrectly Prepared Will May Not Be a Binding Legal Document
When you sign a correctly prepared will, it is a binding legal document. The courts and your chosen executor have to follow your words when distributing your estate. If, however, your will is not legally binding, no one will have to obey your wishes listed in the document. Wills may not be legally binding for many reasons, including:
- Ambiguities in the wording
- Missing important language
- Handwritten notations over the typed text
- The signer lacked capacity to make a will
- Signature and witness formalities were not followed
- A later will supersedes the first one
As you can see, many things could go wrong if you decide to handwrite or type your own will at home. In addition, each state in the United States has slightly different laws regarding wills. Without focused legal knowledge shared by your estate planning lawyer, you could make an innocent mistake that has a major effect on your estate.
Your Life Circumstances Could Affect the Wording and Content of Your Will
Many people do not realize that wills are not one-size-fits-all. Different life circumstances and choice of estate distribution can require special language in a will or even additional estate planning structures. Some primary factors that may change your estate planning needs include whether your estate is large enough to potentially owe estate taxes, whether you or your relatives are U.S. citizens, if you have a relative with special needs who could inherit, which types of assets you own, and more.
Working with an estate planning attorney will ensure that you address your individual life circumstances in your estate plan, including your will. Handwriting a will at home or printing a form will off the Internet simply do not provide you with the knowledge you need to optimize your estate planning.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.