Why do I need an attorney to prepare my will? Can’t I just use a computer?
While it is possible to independently prepare a will without utilizing an attorney, you run many risks in choosing doing so. If you do not follow all the legal rules for drafting and executing the will, there could be a will contest lawsuit in probate court to declare your will void. Creating a legally binding will is not a “fill-in-the-blank” process.
No matter the size of the estate, when people elect to utilize software to write their wills they and their loved ones have a high potential of encountering problems down the road. These problems are ironically often disclaimed in will-writing software. Due to the specific and formulaic method that testators have to adhere to when they execute or modify their will, there is much room for error. Even a small typo in a will can invalidate it, and the use of will-writing software is frequently associated with a huge amount of syntax issues.
Many determinative variables exist in estate planning. Property sizes vary, state probate laws change, and people’s wishes differ in terms of specificity and ultimate goal. An attorney is necessary in order to tailor your will so that your estate is distributed exactly according to your wishes. Standardized form “cookie-cutter” wills available online do not do this, and are frequently declared invalid by courts.
While such software are attractive in their apparent ease of use and smaller upfront cost, obtaining an attorney is a much more safe, effective, and cost-efficient avenue in order to avoid problems down the road (https://www.forbes.com/2010/09/07/do-it-yourself-will-mishaps-personal-finances-estate-lawyers-overcharge.html).
Although it might seem like it when viewed on its face, hiring a lawyer can likely result in you saving money. Unlike lawyers, will-writing software are not equipped to handle issues related to taxes. This fact, coupled with the increased peace of mind you have as to the legal validity of your will, makes the use of a lawyer an invaluable investment. The use of a lawyer is the only way to ensure that will contests down the road are prevented.