By Lorie Burch, Owner & Founding Attorney of Burch Law
Hi, Lorie Burch here, your go to Wills & trusts attorney here to talk about 3 reasons NOT to draft your Will and other legal documents online or with a DIY kit.
The first reason not to draft your Will online is you have no one guiding you on how to set up beneficiaries. Did you know that when you designate beneficiaries on assets such as life insurance, retirement, and investments that those beneficiaries supersede a Will? So while you think you are covering everything by filling out a “simple” form, you may not even be addressing the biggest chunks of your money. Worse yet, if you have minor children listed as a beneficiary, the financial institution won’t care if you have a Will with a trust for them, instead the court will have to step in and appoint who controls the money and it will be given to your child at age 18…not typically the best age to make money decisions.
The second reason not to draft a Will online or with a Will kit is the way your Will is signed is just as important as what it says. There are strict requirements when it comes to the signing, witnessing, and notarization for a Will to be valid. I even reviewed a Will where the individual and two witnesses all signed on different days! Guess what, that is not “witnessing” and that Will is not valid. I also see where people get their family members to be witnesses. No Bueno! Unfortunately, usually when you find out a Will wasn’t signed properly is once someone has passed away, so it is literally too late to fix it. Remember: there is no “close” in Wills & probate!
And reason number 3 not to draft your Will or legal documents online is you have no assurance when (not if) you’re told that a bank, hospital, won’t recognize your document. I tell my clients that there is the real world and the legal world, and they don’t always match. Sometimes certain entities such as banks or hospitals or even funeral homes will tell you that the document you are presenting is not valid. Now, If you drafted that document on your own, You’d probably walk away because you have no idea and you have no one to call. Now if you had an attorney prepare that document, you’re gonna tell them “It must be valid and by the way, let’s get my attorney on the phone!” I personally enjoy being a go to advocate for my clients. And you’ll sound kinda cool having a lawyer on call.
Now, there are many more reasons I could go into, but I have good news: you can start your Will online and have it reviewed and drafted by a licensed attorney.
Yes, at Burch Law, we have developed an exclusive, customized online Will app where you can fill out your answers and we can quickly provide drafts. We will even help you get the signed.
At Burch Law, you CAN have your cake and eat it too! So don’t head for LEGAL DOOM! Follow the link to get started online today or reach out to us if you have questions.
And remember: if you don’t have a Will, the state of Texas has one for you!