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Should I draft my own will?

by | Jun 23, 2021 | Estate Planning

In an effort to save money, a lot of people in St. Charles try to write their wills themselves. They might use an online service to get them started, or they might attempt to do it completely from scratch.

Unfortunately, this can be pennywise and pound foolish. By not hiring an estate planning attorney, you might save a few hundred dollars now. But you could end up costing your loved ones time, money and heartache after you are gone.

Do you know how to execute your will?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing their own wills is failing to execute them properly. Not only must you sign the will, you must have it notarized and include a self-proving affidavit signed by yourself and a witness. This establishes that the will was made by you and can be admitted into probate court after you die. Without these preparations, it will be much more difficult for your executor to get the will accepted by the court. And if the judge rejects the will, your assets will be passed on according to Missouri’s intestacy law — not your stated wishes.

Making sure the wording is just right

Besides proper execution, the will’s language must be clear, unambiguous and within the law. Vague wording can lead to probate litigation between relatives who have different interpretations of what it means. Or it could cause the judge to throw out part of all of the will.

Working with a lawyer with extensive experience in estate planning can virtually erase the risk of these errors. Working with someone who knows the process can help you trust that the court will honor the terms of your will.