Why Online Wills Are A Bad Idea.
If you think you do not need a Will, or they are easy to do with an online guide, here is why you should think again. What you thought it said, well, that's not really what it means, and if you do not have a Will, the State will decide who gets your house, car, personal effects, and money.
Why a Will is ImportantMany people think that they do not need a Will because they do not have a lot of money. Unfortunately, that is not true. If you have a house, a small bank account, personal effects, a vehicle or anything at all, if you do not have a Will, the State will decide who gets your things. This becomes especially problematic if you have a blended family with children from a prior relationship. You may think your current spouse will inherit your house, but if it isn't community property, that spouse will only have a 1/3 life estate. This is one example, why you need to consult with a lawyer.
Consult with a Real Live Estate Planning AttorneyWhy should you spend the time and money to consult with an attorney when you can download a form on the Internet? The answer is, the forms do not always say what you think they say and the form cannot tailor to your specific needs. For example, I had a client that thought her Dad left her Mom his property, no, what the Will really said is that the children, including a daughter that previous stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, received his property. This left Mom homeless, without money to pay for her assisted living, and without proof that this is not what her husband intended. While you do not need to be a rocket science, lawyers are trained to personalize their service to your needs. You may need to preserve assets and protect your home from Medicaid, from a lawsuit, or a divorce. You may need a trust for your minor or disabled child. These are some examples of why a live attorney can give you what an online form cannot. You spend your life working hard for what you have, even the slightest ownership of any property or money is worth the investment in a personalized Will.
A Will Must Be Properly ExecutedFor a Will to be valid, it must be written, signed, and attested in the manner in which the law provides. This means that a Will must be: in writing; signed by the testator in person, or another person on behalf of the testator in the testator's presence or under the testator's direction; and attested by two or more credible witnesses who are at least 14 years old and who subscribe their names in their own handwriting in the testator's presence. For easy administration of the Will, is should also contain a self-proved affidavit subscribed to and sworn to by the testator and witnesses and a notary. Should the Will not be self-proved, your beneficiaries may need to locate the witnesses to the Will, which can be difficult to do after several years.