Do it yourself Wills? Good idea or not?

September 26, 2007

Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, PVB, Ponte Vedra Beach, Orange Park, Florida WillAlthough it is possible to create your own will using Quicken, an online service, or by just creating one on your own, a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer would likely caution against doing so.

A "Do it yourself will" can have many undesired results. The California Estate Planning Blog points to one of these. In their article they describe a man who died and bequeathed his home to five people, one being his wife. His will did not give the spouse the right to remain in the home for her life. Upon the request of any other beneficiary, the wife would either have to buy the additional interest, or be forced to move from the home. If you want to read the full details you can follow this link.

Often individually do not fully understand the consequences of the choices they make in a wills. In addition a Florida Will must comply with the Florida Statute of Wills to be valid. Most states have their own requirement for a will to be valid. A valid Florida Will requires that the person be competent, over the age of 18, understand what they are doing, know their possessions at the time they make the will, have two unrelated witnesses, and notarize the document.

Often there are problems with the execution of a will that do not become apparent until a Florida will is contested or submitted for probate. If a will does not have a proper self-proving affidavit, the work that must be done to prove the will is increased. This can cause the family to incur additional costs and delays in the probate process. Florida also allows a Florida Will to have some options that are not always available in other states. Once such option is the right to attach a separate writing memorandum. The separate writing memorandum can save money by not requiring a will to be redrafted everytime a change is needed. If you are not taught how to use this feature of the will, you could believe you are transferring items that cannot be transferred by the memorandum.

People have compared doing your own will to repairing your own car, doing your own surgery and coloring your own hair. While it is true that a person can eventually learn to do each of these, the results are not always as desired the first time. My favorite comparison is to coloring your hair, as I have personal experience with this and my wife. Often when one colors their own hair it does change the color, but not exactly as intended. Sometimes it good enough, but often it takes a professional to fix what was done.

The problem with a Florida Will or other Florida Estate Planning Documents is that you do not get the chance to see your results, much less correct them. Once you die, it is almost impossible to make a change. You cant say my dad used quicken and he told me that this is what he wanted even though his will doesn't exactly do that. Besides creating a Florida Will with a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer should not be expensive.