The Dangers of Drafting and Executing a Will on Your Own

With the influx of information on the internet today, you can find just about anything on the web. There are all sorts of do-it-yourself websites and instructional videos that allow you to shoulder the work while cutting the extra costs of hiring someone else. You may turn to a particular website or YouTube video to learn how to change the oil in your car or how to install a new thermostat. However, you likely would not turn to the internet for more complicated tasks like building a whole house or performing surgery. There is a reason we hire experts and professionals to perform certain jobs. We know that there is much less room for potential error in hiring an individual with experience and expertise. That fact is especially true when it comes to estate planning.

With the rise of websites like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, or other do it yourself legal services, many people are looking to draft and execute their own legal documents. Other individuals may look for an easy fill-in-the-blank document as an option. The reality is when you attempt to handle legal matters on your own, there is much larger room for error than you realize. When drafting and executing a legal document like a last will and testament, there are a number of requirements that the document itself, the testator, and the witnesses must meet for the will to be valid under the law. An individual without the experience and expertise of an attorney may miss just one requirement needed under law. One small oversight could end up drastically altering the effects of such an important document.

The substantive text within a document like a will or power of attorney is the material that should declare your specific wishes. You want to make sure that your wishes are set forth in full. However, if you are attempting to draft your own will or power of attorney, you may forget to include or exclude certain aspects or clauses depending on your specific wishes. As someone without legal experience, you may not know enough to include or leave out a sentence or two that could have a lasting impact. An attorney who is drafting your will or power of attorney will ensure that these material clauses are included or excluded within the document depending on what is best for your situation.

The execution of the document can be just as legally significant as the text of the document. There are certain requirements that must be met when the testator executes a last will and testament. Without someone with knowledge of the requirements overseeing the execution of the document, there is a chance that your document could be invalid. By having an attorney present during the execution of a document, you are ensuring that your important legal documents are executed properly and in compliance with requirements under the law. After all, when a document is presented in court, it will be too late to worry about whether the execution was valid. You want to ensure a legal document’s validity at the time of its signing.

If you have questions about drafting or executing your will or other legal documents, contact the Nashville wills lawyers at The Higgins Firm. Our team of estate planning attorneys would be happy to answer your questions.

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