Like many people, you may have yet to sit down and create your estate plan, despite understanding the importance of having a plan in place. Also like many people, you may be tempted to take what appears to be the easy route by using “Do-It-Yourself” legal forms you find on the internet or at a local office supply store. In the short run, using DIY Wills and other legal forms may seem like a smart idea; however, in the long run, DIY estate planning forms typically end up costing your loved ones considerably more in terms of both time and money. If you have been contemplating the creation of your Last Will and Testament using a DIY form, do yourself and your loved ones a favor and consult with an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney instead.
DIY Wills and Other Estate Planning Forms
In the 21st century, just about everything can be accomplished electronically. We communicate with friends, family members and business associates around the world via email, Facebook, and services such as Skype. We deliver business documents over fax machines and move money around using phone apps. Furthermore, the internet has opened up the sharing of information to heretofore unimagined heights. Information on just about any subject is now available in bulk for just a few computer keyboard clicks, including estate planning. It is no difficult, therefore, to find DIY Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and a wide variety of other estate planning documents. Just because the forms are readily available, however, does not mean it is a good idea to use them.
What Is Wrong with Using DIY Wills?
Your Last Will and Testament is a legal document wherein you will determine the disposition of your estate assets through specific and/or general bequests. In addition, you will also appoint an Executor to oversee the probate of your estate as well as nominate a Guardian for your minor children in your Will. In short, your Will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever create and execute. With that in mind, it only makes sense to ensure that your Will is prepared and executed properly. Unfortunately, that is often not what happens when you depend on a DIY Will. The reality is that DIY Wills are frequently full of errors and omissions, including:
- Incorrect or out of date language
- Generic language that should be state specific
- Improper execution
- Failure to fully dispose of the Testator’s estate
- Inability to get legal advice during the creation of the Will
The Real Cost of Using DIY Wills
Using a DIY Will form you download off the internet may seem like a cost effective way to get a basic estate plan in place; however, the money you save by not consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney will often be spent several times over by your loved ones after you are gone because of the problems with the Will you created. Using a DIY Will significantly increases the odds of your Will being contested by a beneficiary or heir of your estate. If someone does file a Will contest, it will greatly increase the time and money required to probate your estate. Not only will it take much monger for your loved ones to receive the assets you intended them to receive, but the costs involved in contesting the Will come out of your estate assets, meaning there will be less left over for your loved ones. In addition, if the Will you execute is found to be invalid as a result of the Will contest, or does not fully dispose of your estate, as is often the case when a DIY Will is used, the Illinois intestate succession laws will be used to dispose of your estate assets. As such, your wishes with regard to your estate will not be honored. Instead, the State of Illinois will effectively decide what happens to your assets.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding DIY Wills or estate planning in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.