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Oftentimes people are drawn to the ease of creating an online Will versus seeking the guidance of a qualified elder law attorney. But, before you go online, consider these five reasons why online Wills aren’t your best option.
Wills are formal documents and the execution of a Will is a serious and formal ceremony. If your Will is not executed pursuant to state law requirements, it is likely not to be admitted to probate – meaning your wishes stated in your Will will fail.
Difficult to Administer
Wills are complex and formal documents. In order for them to be admissible in court, they need to include language that effectively grants power to their chosen Executor. All too often an Executor is not necessarily granted rights to fully manage the estate and fulfill obligations. Sometimes people forget to name an alternative Executor, which can cause problems when the original choice is unable or unwilling to administer the Will at the time of death. These are just a couple of examples of execution difficulty.
Easily Contested Gifts
Every Will needs to be very specific on bequeathed items or gifts. For instance, we have seen cases where a parent leaves his/her house to his/her child, but fails to specify any instruction on the contents of the house, the surrounding property, insurance, taxes and/or property maintenance. Unless these items are clearly outlined in a Will, others may attempt to make claim and cause unnecessary headaches.
Protection of Your Assets
Experienced elder law attorneys are trained to understand the inner workings of complicated government benefit laws. Having someone on your side that fully comprehends how to navigate these laws is essential. A Will cannot simply state who receives what – there may be a serious risk to a loved one losing important and essential government benefits without the proper Will provisions. In order to ensure your Will protects your assets and provides for your loved ones once you are gone, it is best to consult with an experienced and reputable elder law attorney.
“Cookie Cutter” Wills
Unfortunately, when compiling an online will, most sites offer a “template” and do not take into consideration a number of important issues, i.e. your state’s laws regarding inheritance; long-term care; trusts; and other matters. In order to be compliant, you need to fully understand these areas and the language needed to ensure your wishes are met.
Online Wills, while they can seem appealing, can cause undue stress for your loved ones at the time of your death. It’s important to consult with an experienced elder law attorney to ensure your Will is properly drafted and executed to ensure your wishes are carried out to the fullest extent possible. Unfortunately, if you have prepared your own Will, you may not know if there is a problem until it is too late. Experienced elder law attorneys fully understand the potential challenges and are well armed with solutions to overcome them within a Will.