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Can I write my own will? and will the will hold up in court

Woodbridge, VA |

it would be a simple will with everything going to one person and specifically excluding my two children.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Do not do this. You are making a mistake here, especially if you intend to disinherit your children. The cost to do the will the right way is not that great but if you mess this up then everyone will retain lawyers at your death and the costs will far outweigh the costs of a simple will. In addition, there is more to do than just dealing with your will, things such as a living will and durable power of attorney and coordinating diverse assets and those passing outside probate.

For the reasons why please read my legal guide entitled Estate Planning Mistakes: 5 Not So Easy Pieces at http://www.sjfpc.com/estate_planning_drafting_wills_trusts.html. After you read this you may gain an understanding of what is involved in this process.

Hope this helps.

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Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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Posted

Mr. Fromm speaks wisely. When you disinheirit someone - a red flag goes up. Hire an attorney and save your beneficiary a heck of a lot of problems.

Good Luck!

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

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Posted

Mr. Fromm provides excellent advice here. Though it is possible for you to write your own will in Virginia, and certainly possible for it to be valid, the disinheritance of your children presents many issues that need to be addressed by a qualified attorney. I anticipate you also posted the question about LegalZoom and online will providers in general (if not, you may want to check out answers to that question as well), and again, the problem isn't so much with validity, as it is with construction, interpretation, and proper handling of non-probate assets. The language used by a layman is different from the language used by an attorney when drafting, and the reasons all the legal language is employed is because it often has a very specific meaning according to the statutes and/or case law.

In your case, I would consider it imperative that a qualified attorney draft your will, and furthermore, that the will be properly secured after it is drafted.

NOTE: If you find this response helpful, please click on the “thumbs up” button at the bottom. DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT INTENDED, NOR SHOULD IT BE CONSTRUED, AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS POSTING DOES NOT CREATE ANY ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION, CONSULT A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY.

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