Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, August 31, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Wills and the Internet

TrustsAs I have previously discussed, there a number of reason why a person should not make his or her own will. A person might probably not want to follow any forms that a person might find on the internet. There are numerous problem with these forms. First, these forms tend to make mistakes which could invalidate the person's will. If the will is invalidated then the disposition of property will be controlled by the state intestacy statute, which probably will not follow the testators wishes. Now, even if the form is technically correct and adequate, a standard form could be not adequate to address the individual problems that a person might have. A person might own number of assets that these forms do not cover, such as annuities, insurance policies, and trusts. On the other hand, a lawyer would be able to help a person to plan and take into account the different assets that a person owns.

Now, a person might consider online forms to save money on the costs. However, if a problem does arise, it might cost the person more money to fix these problems than if the person just went to an attorney in the first place. Not to mention, a person could reduce time it takes to settle an estate. Estates can take a good while to completely settle, and that is assuming that nothing goes wrong. It can be even longer if something goes wrong.

See Ray Brandon & Dana Brandon, Homemade Wills Can Cause Woes, Memphis Daily News, Aug. 30, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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We cannot emphasize enough the folly of these DIY options. The internet has plenty of legal forms available to the unknowing public. There is more to estate planning than just filling out forms. These documents need to be hand tailored to the client's particular situation to cover their true wishes while at the same time taking the various estate, gift, inheritance and income tax aspects into account. Your readers may be interested in more insights via my article Estate Planning Mistakes: 5 Not So Easy Pieces at the following link: http://www.sjfpc.com/estate_planning_drafting_wills_trusts.html

Posted by: Steven J Fromm | Aug 31, 2012 8:30:54 AM

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