DIY Wills, A Good Idea?
There are some jobs that you do not want to take on yourself. Repairing the gas flow from your oven, for example. You may save a bit of money by not hiring a gas-and-electric specialist. But you could, at best, damage your kitchen appliance. At worst, you could cause a gas leak that releases poisonous carbon monoxide into the air. Even worse, you could blow up your house.
A do it yourself Will actually is that dangerous. It may seem simple to fill out an online questionnaire that will spit out a Will, but that Will may not hold up in court. Your heirs and family could fight over your Will for years, and those legal fees could cost them all more money that your estate is even worth.
Do It Yourself Will Pitfalls
What these do it yourself Will salespeople don’t tell you — one of the many things they don’t tell you — is that a Will must be properly executed. In Ohio, the Testator’s (person creating the Will), signature must be witnessed by two (2) independent witnesses, over the age of eighteen and they must have witnessed the Testator sign the Will. Without this, the Will may be considered improperly executed. A court could declare the entire Will invalid if it is not executed correctly. So if it is not properly executed, your Will may be subject to a great deal of probate. Even if the beneficiaries get along and do not dispute any aspect of the Will, they could face copious amounts of legal debt trying to get this do it yourself Will to be enacted.
You Won’t Know What You’re Missing
Many DIY Will websites provide incomplete information. Since the realm of writing a Will is new territory for you, you have no reason to know what questions to ask. You will not know which pieces you are missing. There may be fine-print details that would derail your whole process, and you will not have the face-to-face contact to inquire about those fine points.
A comparison could be drawn with doing your own taxes. If you DIY your tax filings, you may be fine. If you miss something, the Internal Revenue Service will likely notify you of whatever is not filled out correctly. You may need to re-file, and you may owe a bit more in federal taxes, but that is not a huge disaster.
However, if you do something wrong when preparing your own Will, there is no feedback mechanism in place. After you are gone, your beneficiaries will discover a Will with patches and holes, which may not even be possible to fix. You will not be there to adjust and correct your Will. You will not be able to supply a revision.
In handling a Will, part of the goal is to avoid court involvement. You, your family members, and other beneficiaries will save enormous amounts of time and money if they do not need to involve the courts. If you follow the instructions from a DIY site, they will likely have you fill in the blanks, and fill out online forms. This gets very confusing, however, when you start dealing with file names. Different documents have different names from state to state. Since each state has its own probate code, the DIY site cannot account easily for all of those discrepancies between state filing procedures.
Create Your Will Today With An Experienced Cincinnati Estate Planning Attorney
Get peace of mind by working with an Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer located right here in Cincinnati. Skip the DIY Will and contact Donnellon, Donnellon and Miller today to set up an appointment. We’ll make the process easy for you and your family.