Preparing a Will Online
When an attorney supervises the execution of a last will and testament, a presumption of due execution arises, meaning that the law assumes that all of the proper statutory formalities were followed when the will was signed. If the will execution ceremony is not supervised by an attorney, this presumption does not exist. In order for the Surrogate’s Court to admit an unsupervised will to probate, it must satisfied that the will was properly executed. If a will is executed by a person on their own, without attorney supervision, they run the risk having the will rejected by the Court.
DisinheritanceThis can be an especially large problem if you are disinheriting one of your children or not leaving your assets to them in equal shares. If you die leaving a spouse and children or only children, then the probate process requires that all of your children be notified of the will being submitted to the court for probate, not just the children inheriting under the will. If you executed your will and it is later discovered that the proper formalities were not followed then your will could be declared invalid and denied probate. This could be after a lengthy will court battle initiated by the disinherited child.
Unique Family SituationsEven if there is no will contest, wills that are prepared by an estate planning attorney provide for family situations that an online will cannot. For example, if you have a disabled child or a minor grandchild that you would like to make a beneficiary of your will, it is recommended that those beneficiaries inherit in a trust rather than outright. In many cases if you have disabled or minor beneficiaries it is advisable to avoid probate all together and create a living trust. An online service cannot provide the necessary guidance and planning to properly navigate these situations. An estate planning attorney is able to use years of experience to guide the client in the process.
ConclusionAt the end of the day, paying an estate planning attorney to properly prepare and supervise the execution of your will and other estate planning documents is far less costly than litigating over the validity of a will in the Surrogate*s Court. This will save your loved ones a lot of time, money and aggravation after your death.