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I have a will that needs to be updated. Can I just start from scratch and make my own will and if so, at what website?

Ocala, FL |

I have no family to leave my house and money to and I would be donating all to various charities except for a small amount to a niece and grandniece but the majority is charity beneficiaires.

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Attorney answers 8

Posted

Yes you can create a new will. I would not recommend you use a web site. Please consider at least meeting with an estate planning attorney. Recently, I had a case where the testator did not execute the documents provided by the web site properly. It resulted in his wishes not being honored. Please be careful with online documents.

Posted

If you wish to benefit charities AND take advantage of the tax benefits NOW, then you'll want to speak with an Estate Planning attorney licensed in Florida about a Charitable Remainder Trust. Good Luck with your Estate Planning.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Very good suggestion!

Posted

You can but its never a good idea. Property law alone is very complex, and the wording required is highly highly specialized. In fact I just redid a will that was self-made and if they hadn't come to see me none of what the parents actually wanted would have happened because of how the property was titled.

Its worth it to spend a little and get an estate plan in place that will work for you, the charities you care about, and your grandniece. You have options and some cool things you can do - so I would recommend sitting down with someone.

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC

Posted

As my colleagues have indicated, to make sure that your will is carried out precisely as you wish, it is best to have an attorney to prepare it. Or, perhaps one of the charities to whom you intend to leave a bequest can refer you to an attorney who would prepare the will for little cost.

See, the thing about someone on Avvo asking attorneys to recommend a web-site is that WE HAVE NO CLUE which web sites are good and which aren't. Or, not to speak for other attorneys, I HAVEN'T the slightest clue. I do not use them myself, so how would I know? I am an attorney, I prepare my documents based upon: 1) attending law school; 2) learning the law after law school; 3) practicing law for 34+ years; and 4) keeping track of the pertinent laws that relate to the areas of practice in which I am involved.

I am sorry if I am lecturing, and apologize, as I did not mean to offend. But you would be surprised at how many questioners on Avvo ask about websites, or paralegals, or forms to use, forgetting that for the most part, lawyers are in the business of lawyering, not reviewing websites.

Sure, lawyers charge money and more money than a website fee might charge. And, maybe a website would work for you. But if mistakes happen along the way, the consequences might defeat your intentions.

One other thought: to avoid the expense of probate, perhaps spending money now to transfer your assets, even your house, into a trust that you would control, naming the charities, your niece and grandniece as beneficiaries and naming a successor trustee such as a friend or even your niece to make distributions upon your passing. True, you would incur the cost of an attorney to create the trust and transfer the assets, but he effect could be the same and, typically--I do not know what probate attorneys charge in Marion County--less overall than the expense of a probate. There would be no filing fee with the Clerk, for example. Or need to notify creditors. Or publishing notice of the estate in a newspaper. Or having notices sent to your living heirs by certified mail. Or.....

Again, I apologize if I offended you, and yes, I considered deleting it but am letting it go through, as there are important points to be made. Best of luck to you, and a long and healthy life.

I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.

Brittany Green Gloersen

Brittany Green Gloersen

Posted

I agree. I considered writing something similar. Glad you did!

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Posted

Thank you, Brittany. I had considered that it would be easy for him/her to go to my profile and give me a bad review....hopefully my suggestion about forming a trust to save money took the edge off any repercussion..

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Being honest and trying to be helpful should never be a cause for negative repercussions.

Posted

Yes and no. Yes, you can start from scratch and make your own will. In fact, simply rewriting the will is often a better option than a codicil, which is basically an amendment to a will. Further, you can write your own will and there are several websites and programs that can help you do this, such as Quicken WillMaker.

However, I would strongly advise against using a program or website to create your will on your own. You might save some money today, but there is no telling how much money would be wasted or mismanaged if your will were to be invalidated, not to mention your wishes not being honored. Additionally, an estate attorney will likely be able to draft a will to suit your needs much more quickly than you would be able to, presumably having never drafted a will.

You may be surprised by how affordable having a will drafted can be. Much of the process can be completed via telephone or email, and drafts and revisions can be reviewed as the process progresses. I offer a free estate planning consultation, and would be happy to give you an estimate after understanding your wishes. I am located in Orlando, but attended law school in Gainesville, have family in Ocala, and drive through town from time to time. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.

Posted

Do it yourself estate planning is a bad idea. It's one of those things you want done right. The stakes are just too great to take any chances to save a little money. Our firm removes is flexible and works with you to ensure that finances aren't the sole reason for avoiding an attorney.

It is important that you understand I am not your attorney and you are not my client. Legal advice requires knowledge pertinent facts. Thus, the free advice provided to you here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk because it is impossible to have all the facts available at this time. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in Florida and New York only so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

Posted

I strongly suggest you seek the advice of a reputable estate planning attorney. Florida is very particular as to how a Will must be drafted.

Posted

You should consider a "Living Trust".
The benefit to you would be someone could manage your assets if you became incapaciated
for your benefit.
Upon your death-everything could "probate free" to your beneficiaries.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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