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Should I create my own will?

A will is one of the most important estate planning documents, yet fewer than half of all Americans have a valid will in place.  Numerous websites are attempting to induce more people to make a will by offering do-it-yourself wills.  These sites have online, cookie cutter forms available at a low cost.  While it may be tempting to make a will at a fraction of the cost, DIY wills can come at tremendous long-term costs.  Our Tampa Bay estate planning attorneys at Verras Law discuss some of the dangers of self-made wills below.  Contact our firm for experienced and individualized assistance with your estate plan.

Failure to Comply with State Law

All states have their own specific requirements when it comes to will execution.  If your do-it-yourself will does not conform to the laws in your state, it may be deemed invalid and your assets will instead pass through the laws of intestacy.  In Florida, holographic wills or wills that are handwritten without a witness, are not recognized.  A valid Florida will requires the signatures of its creators, as well as two competent witnesses.

Insufficient Estate Plan

Even if properly executed, a do-it-yourself will rarely creates the comprehensive estate plan you need to preserve your assets for the next generation.  With a DIY will, you do not receive the personal advice of a skilled estate planning attorney.  Your will may leave out vital assets that will then have to pass through the laws of intestacy.  Further, your DIY will may leave your estate vulnerable to immense tax consequences.  Your heirs could end up with just a fraction of your hard earned funds due to estate and other taxes.  

Do not jeopardize your inheritance by leaving it in the hands of a software program.  Consult with an estate planning attorney to discover how you can easily and effectively pass down your assets to your designated heirs without incurring tax penalties or the need for litigation.  You may pay less for a do-it-yourself will, but your heirs could suffer far greater financial costs in the long run.