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In the News – Why Writing Your Own Will Is A Bad Idea

Published 10/11/2019

Taking the time to prepare clear legal documentation in your will is key to preparing your estate plan for the future. In this article written by Christine Fletcher, she notes the importance of working with a lawyer to properly plan what happens to your belongings, protect your heirs, and avoid an expensive “bargain.”

Christine shares that many “educated, accomplished individuals with significant assets to protect” often write their own will in an attempt to save money or believe they can “figure it out.” This approach introduces risk into an individuals’ estate plan by potentially leaving behind issues when their estate is administrated, and increased legal fees and bills for their family.

In one of her examples, she details an individual who wrote his own will well but unknowingly caused his family emotional and financial stress when the court determined that his will missed an important aspect. In this case even though his heirs all agreed with his will, they spent a lot of money during probate, waiting for the court to approve the will.

Because states also have their own laws determining how wills must be signed to be valid, it is important to meet with a lawyer who can make sure your will is properly executed in your state. For example, in Illinois a written list of instructions is not a will, even if you write it out by hand and sign it.

Christine also shares other examples of people who drafted their own wills only to find that they missed important instructions and information needed to properly probate the wills, leaving them with unclear estate plans that resulted in excess time and legal fees for their loved ones.

Christine concludes that estate planning is not something you should do yourself, and that you should instead work with a lawyer. Drafting your own will may “save a few bucks now…but it will cost your family in time, aggravation and legal fees far in excess of anything you saved.”

Taking the time to discuss your plans can help a lawyer use the correct language, specific information including the address of your real estate or full names of beneficiaries, and any contingencies to avoid devastating financial consequences in your own estate planning.

The skilled professionals at Pankau Law can help draft your will to ensure your estate plan clearly documents your wishes and is managed as you planned. Contact us today to see how we can help you plan for your family. 



This content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel.

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