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Drafting a Will: The Pitfalls of DIY Legal Information

Why hire an attorney to draft and supervise the execution of your Last Will and Testament?

While there is no question that the internet and bookstores are littered with do-it-yourself legal information, and many people may feel confident they can read this material and proceed without legal counsel, there is no substitute for experience and professionalism. You wouldn’t trust yourself to conduct your own medical examination or dental cleaning, so why trust a do-it-yourself book with handing your legal issues when it comes time to drafting a Will.

One example of a costly pitfall is as simple as the removal of staples from an original Last Will and Testament. First of all, DO NOT EVER REMOVE THE STAPLES FROM AN ORIGINAL LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. Removal of staples may provide grounds for objection to probate, which can be an extremely time-consuming and expensive process that can cost the estate thousands of dollars in litigation.

If the staples have already been removed and the document re-stapled, you must provide the Court with a notarized affidavit stating why they were removed, where the document has been kept since it was executed and that you believe that no substitutions/changes have been made since its execution. This affidavit, which should always be drafted by an attorney who is experienced in Trust and Estate Administration, if drafted properly and accepted by the Surrogate’s Court may help avoid creating a much larger issue.

The removal of staples from an original Last Will and Testament is just one example of how hiring an attorney can save you from unnecessary expenses and stress.

The Probate process is much more involved than simply filling out a form and handing it over to the court. Oftentimes there are subtle but costly pitfalls and roadblocks that an experienced Trust and Estate Administration attorney is able to avoid and/or overcome.

And this may answer the question: Why attorneys will retain your original Will for safekeeping.

Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530

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