draft your own will

3 Reasons Not to Draft Your Own Will

When it comes time to draft your will, it may be tempting to write it yourself. There are countless resources online, many of them free, including DIY templates and walkthrough guides for completing it, but remember that your will is a legal document. As such, it’s much safer to hire legal counsel to guide you. Creating estate planning documents is something that many legal professionals spend their entire careers focusing on. Trying to draft your own will is likely to cause confusion and unintentional feuding between mourning relatives for the following reasons.

Your Will May Not Be Valid

There are legal procedures that vary by state that determine the validity of a will. In the state of Maryland, for example, two credible witnesses must sign the will after the testator (the person executes the will) has signed. That might sound simple enough on the surface, but what makes a witness credible? What if you draft your own will while living in another state from the one in which you currently reside? Some states require wills to be completely typed and notarized, while others allow it to be handwritten. Knowledge of these laws is imperative for ensuring that you didn’t pour your time into a will that is determined invalid in the end.

Problems Assigning Your Executor

If you draft your own will by following an online template, you could miss a step or two regarding your executor. This is the person you choose to carry out your will once you’ve passed, but there are some laws around this role that must be checked.

Your state will determine who can and cannot serve as your executor. If you choose someone who cannot serve this role, then when your will goes to probate, the role could be assigned to someone else. The new person taking over the role may not be someone you want in charge of distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. If you work with an attorney, you’ll be advised who can and cannot take on this role, and that keeps this choice in your hands.

The Will Isn’t Clear

You may feel you were clear about your intentions, but if you draft your own will, you’re likely to miss some key items in distributing your assets. You may even try to distribute things that you aren’t allowed to. For example, have you thought about what you’ll do with the funds from your retirement account? Much like funds from a bank account that are classified as “payable on death,” you can’t designate the beneficiaries in the will. Similarly, you could forget property. There are too many items to designate, and too many A, B, and C scenarios in estate planning to go it alone. Employing legal counsel will help you navigate each of these areas so that nothing is left unclear.

Don’t Draft Your Own Will; Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Estate Planning

If you need help drafting your will, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case to achieve the result you deserve. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.