Q: My daughter told me that she can get a Will form off the internet that I can fill out and that way I will avoid an expensive legal fee. If I have a pretty simple situation is there any reason why I shouldn’t do this?
A: Yes! There are many reasons why you should not use a Will form from off the internet, just like there are many reasons why you should not do your own dental work! Here are just a few:
- Most situations are not simple. Many clients who come to see me tell me at the outset that their situation is simple, but as we talk, it often turns out that things are not quite so simple. Common circumstances which merit more than a simple Will include
- a child or grandchild with special needs
- a child who is in a shaky marriage or has money troubles
- a desire to protect assets from long term care costs
- a second marriage, especially where there are children
- having a taxable estate
- ownership of a family business, commercial real estate or a beloved vacation home
- Language is important. The wording in your Will determines how your estate will be distributed. If your Will says, ‘I leave everything to my children in equal shares’ what happens if a child predeceases you? Will his share go to his children or will it be distributed among your other children? What do you want to have happen? Engaging an estate planning attorney to prepare your Will means that your intentions will be carried out, and that there will be no ambiguity that could lead to family disputes or unnecessary court involvement after your death.
- Most people need more than just a Will. While having a Will is important, creating documents to address the possibility that you may experience a period of incapacity in your life is just as important. These documents include a durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Authorization and a Living Will.
In many ways your Will is your legacy to your family; it is the last thing you say to your loved ones. A well-planned estate, including a Will prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney for your unique situation, tells your family that you care enough about them to ensure that your intentions are carried out effectively and in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Call us – we can help you ensure that your wishes are carried out.