Why Homemade Wills Do Not Work

Many people believe that by merely writing down on a piece of paper what they want done with their property, they have created a legally enforceable Will that will be honored by the court.  This is nearly never true.

Your Will is only important after you have passed, and thus are no longer able to explain what you meant when you wrote it.  Further, if someone were to challenge the Will by asserting that you were in a weakened or confused condition when you wrote it, you would not be able to explain that you were in a perfect state of mental health when you wrote it.  A slighted family member could come forward and overturn the homemade Will based on your alleged incapacity.

All Wills should be prepared by an attorney and signed in the presence of impartial witnesses and a notary, so that others are available to testify that you were competent to decide what you wanted.  Further, the legal language lawyer-prepared Wills use is important because it will precisely state what you mean, so that various interpretations cannot be raised by others.

Also, lawyer-prepared Wills should designate what happens to property given to minors, so that it is unnecessary to use the money you leave behind to hire other lawyers to petition the court for guardians to care for the property given to minor beneficiaries.

Homemade or “canned form” Wills are dangerous, leading to many court cases and huge expense.  If certainty is what you seek, a properly prepared Will is a must.

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