Why downloadable or store-bought will & testament forms might be inadequate to protect your interests
By Barbara Craig, Attorney at Law
Probate laws, rules, and procedures are extremely precise and can be unforgiving when dealing with the one area of probate (last will and testament matters) in which a deceased person’s interests and wishes the court wants very much to protect, is not there to speak for themselves. It is for this reason that you should ensure your wishes and the rights of your loved ones are strongly defended and protected by more than a generic downloadable will & testament form.
Unfortunately, protecting the financial future of your family is something a do-it-yourself (DIY) will & testament form may not accomplish. It might seem simple enough and can be just as legally binding as an attorney prepared will, fill-in-the-blank forms are more easily, challenged, and can possibly be ruled void by the courts. Without an experienced attorney to defend you and your loved one’s best interests and rights, who will ward off arguments and challenges?
Although it is relatively easy to fill in the blanks and create your own will and testament, it is often their very simplicity that causes DIY will & testament forms to be routinely challenged by experienced and highly skilled representatives of creditors and even ‘long lost’ or disgruntled relatives who feel you unfairly overlooked them or left them too little.
There can be other unforeseen issues for those who utilize will & testament forms. For example, an individual may have a complex estate which cannot be adequately represented by a DIY form. Or perhaps someone has interest alongside others in a business, corporation, land, or even residential or commercial properties, which creates complications that must be correctly addressed in a valid will.
Many factors can exceed the simple capabilities of a fill-in-the-blank will & testament form. If you are unsure or simply concerned whether your last will and testament will correctly communicate your wishes in the event of your passing, it is imperative you speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you of your rights, and how to best ensure that your and your loved ones’ best interests are protected.
Photo courtesy Ken Mayer