Now that we are firmly embedded in the digital age, a do-it-yourself mindset has developed. People often search the Internet to find out how to do things, and you can tackle many different types of tasks on your own. However, the key is to know where you should draw the line.
There are websites on the Internet that will sell you boilerplate, template legal documents, including last wills. Do you really need a lawyer to draw up a last will when you can download a worksheet off the Internet and take care of it yourself?
This is a multifaceted question. Technically, any adult who is of sound mind can create a last will, as long as the individual is not being coerced in any way. In California, in order for a last will to be valid, two witnesses must see you sign the document, and the witnesses must sign the will as well.
Though it is possible to create a last will as a layperson using online resources, you may want to consider a study that was conducted by Consumer Reports. This highly respected, totally objective entity engaged three legal professors to examine three different last wills that were created by staffers using worksheets and downloads acquired from three different online sources.
The professors found flaws, and they said that unintended consequences could result if you go the DIY route. Consumer Reports ultimately stated that boilerplate documents that you find online are no substitute for professionally prepared estate planning documents.
More Food for Thought
You may or may not be able to create a truly effective last will on your own, but there is another question to ask yourself: Should you use a will as a vehicle of asset transfer?
There are various different ways that you can facilitate postmortem asset transfers. The optimal combination will vary depending on the circumstances.
To provide one example, people with special needs often rely on government benefit programs. These programs are only available to people who have very limited resources.
If you name a loved one with a disability in your last will, the inheritance could result in a loss of benefits.
This is just one example, but there are many different reasons why you may want to use some other asset transfer vehicle or vehicles.
Learn More About DIY Estate Planning
We have prepared an in-depth special report that will provide you with more information about do-it-yourself estate planning and some of the drawbacks that go along with it.
This report is being offered to our readers on a complimentary basis at the present time, and you can access your copy through this website.
To get your copy of the report, visit this page and follow the simple instructions: DIY Estate Planning Report.
- The SECURE Act – the Gift That Keeps On Giving - September 28, 2023
- The Importance of Hiring a Probate Attorney (VIDEO) - September 27, 2023
- IRS Confirms Grantor Trust Status Alone Does Not Cause a Step-Up in Basis - September 14, 2023