DIY Wills?

“Common mistakes people make when they write their own Will”

Part 1

The mistakes people make when they write their own Wills typically fall into one of three categories – 1)Procedural, 2)Substantive, and 3)what I’m going to call “Rookie Mistakes.”

Procedural mistakes are the most boring to discuss – but they’re a big deal. They are the types of mistakes that can make your Will completely invalid. This includes mistakes like not having the Will signed by the right number of witnesses or not having a notary present. If your Will isn’t executed in accordance with your state’s procedural requirements (the requirements vary from state to state) then the Probate Clerk won’t be able to admit the Will to Probate and the Will won’t be anything except a piece of paper. In that case, your assets will not be given to the beneficiaries you named in the Will (which, technically isn’t a Will) but will be given to your heirs-at-law, as defined by state law. (In fancy legalese this is known as dying “intestate.” We’ll discuss this more in future blogs).

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you ensure that your Will is executed in accordance with the procedural requirements in your state. Because these requirements vary from state to state, if you later move to a different state, be sure to have an attorney in your new place of residence review your Will.

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