When many people hear the word “will” they think of a simple document with a few notes saying who gets what once they die. That can lead people to write their own will, foregoing the costs of an attorney in favor of a cheap “do-it-yourself” online service and template.
But, a will is a lot more complicated than people realize. One wrong mistake while making your own will could make that legal document as worthless as fast-food napkins. Here are three problems you can encounter with a DIY will:
You may not fully clarify your intentions
One of the most immediate ways that someone can invalidate a will is by not making the intent of the document clear.
If you forget to include specifics for how your estate should be distributed, it could open up room for will disputes. A letter of intent is something that many people overlook without experienced guidance.
You may not have the right witnesses
Every will you make in Texas requires two witnesses when your will is signed. Many self-made wills leave out the witnesses or fail to meet state-specific requirements regarding their age, relationship or some other important factor.
Without proper witnesses, not only can the court declare your will invalid, but your wishes could be challenged by people who believe that you were subject to undue influence or suffering from a mental disorder, like dementia, when the will was crafted.
You may not have properly named an executor
There has to be someone involved in the maintenance and distribution of your estate when you die. That could be someone close to you that you trust and respect to manage your estate.
If you forget to name an executor of your estate, the state will step in and decide who to put in charge – and they could be a stranger who may not care for your family as much as you do.
Even one tiny mistake on a will could mean an heir losing out on their entire inheritance. You may want to seek legal support that can ensure every step of your will is done correctly.