Last week I had a client call me about a Probate problem? It turned out that this client had used a Do it yourself Will Program that was online ( LEGALZOOM). Her husband executed his will, but she did not. Then her husband died. The problem is that because her husband had a bank account in his name and did not have a Payable on Death designation, the bank account needed to go through probate.
This could have happened if a lawyer had prepared the will, but the lawyer would have probably inquired into the title of the assets in his possession. This little mistake cost $1500 in probate fees.
The odd thing is that she doesnt want her will or assets reviewed by an attorney because it will cost around $100. Some people never learn.
The moral of the story: Online wills are only forms. Even if they imply that a lawyer created them, a lawyer is not looking at your documents or your assets when you make decisions.
This client could have spent $100 more than the online cost and had an attorney prepare, and review their documents for mistakes like the one she missed.
Some other examples of Do it your self wills and bad news are covered in my articles listed below
Do it Yourself Wills? More bad news and Do it Yourself Wills? a Good Idea or Not?
Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 3
Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 4
Do it yourself Estate Planning: Bad News Part 5
This is a common mistake found in Florida Probate cases, when people try to make their own wills, or transfer their assets without getting professional help from an attorney or accountant who is familiar with the effects of gifting and estate planning.
If you have used software, a form, or an online service to prepare your will, you should have it reviewed by a Florida Estate planning Attorney for potential problems.