DIY Will Kits

I Can Write My Own Will; Should I?

A quick search on Google or in your Amazon store you will find many options for Will Kits. Many people see Will Kits as a cheaper and hassle-free alternative to meeting with a lawyer to protect their assets, legacy and to provide for your family in the future. While it may be a cheaper way to do an Estate plan it certainly is not hassle-free nor is it advisable to do it yourself. There are many pitfalls in drafting a will yourself and without the requisite expertise, knowledge and understanding all of the issues it could have damaging consequences for your loved ones.

Here are 3 reasons why you should consult with a lawyer instead of buying a Will Kits

Required Skill and Expertise

There are many people out there that when there when a pipe bursts in their bathroom they immediately call a professional, a plumber, to fix the issue at their home. Someone who works as a general contractor might be someone to fix this problem on their own without having to hire a professional. The same logic goes for drafting a will. Some people like law clerks, paralegals, and other individuals that work in a law firm may have the required skill to draft a will themselves by using a Will Kit. However, most people do not have the required skill; they do not have the knowledge to implement the correct clauses in a Will to ensure a proper and safe Estate Plan. What if you have minor children - what happens to them? What are the tax consequences associated with certain investment products? What about digital assets? Great questions for a lawyer to help you with where a Will Kit will be silent.

Will Kits are not cheaper

At the onset a Will Kits saves money upfront and the initial cost to have the documents drafted may save you a few hundred dollars. However, the Will Kits does not replace sound legal advice and it may even result in costly and drawn-out litigation for your family after you pass away. Or worse, an invalid clause may cause grief and conflict between your beneficiaries in your family unit which was not anticipated or your intention. If an error is made it could cost your family thousands of dollars to fix after you have passed away. Perhaps there are no errors in your Will Kit, but adding certain assets in your Will Kit should have been avoided and end up costing your family more Estate Administration Tax than the difference it would have cost you to see a lawyer in the first place.

Enforceability and Validity of the will

When drafting a Will yourself some errors may be made during the drafting and signing processes. This could have a negative effect on the validity and the enforceability of your Will. Some courts have determined that handwritten portions on Will Kits can be admitted as a valid expression of bequests and wishes, but sometimes typed words on the form are considered invalid and do not form part of the Will maker’s wishes. Some other pitfalls that come into play are the signing and witnessing requirements. If these formalities are not upheld your Will can be considered invalid. When these requisite formalities are not upheld it will have a damaging effect on the legacy you leave behind your family.

Conclusion

You have worked very hard to establish your legacy and to provide for your family and loved ones when you pass away. Don’t leave your legacy and hard work up to complex instructions in a Will Kit. As the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for”.

At Dabros Law we offer a free consultation so that you can discuss your Estate Plan with a Professional and we offer flat rate pricing so that you know what the cost is with no surprises.