“Do it yourself” Wills – Not so Fast!

Many people believe that going to an attorney to have their Last Will and Testament prepared will be costly.  Not so, what will become costly is when you don’t employ an attorney to prepare your documents.  There are many attorneys who provide a reasonable fee for preparing such estate planning documents as a Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate Designation.  My free advice to you is to contact them.

As an attorney who has both prepared Wills and handled the probate proceedings of Wills, (administration of the estate of one who has died) I know first-hand the problems that arise when one has a Will that they prepared themselves.  For a Will to be admitted by the Court as a valid Will, it has to be an original Will and be in conformity with Florida law.  Chapter 732 of the Florida Statutes has several sections on who may make a Will, who may witness a Will, how the Will is to be signed, and the critical “self-proof” of a Will.

A non-attorney or even an attorney who does not regularly practice estate planning may not be aware of the specific guidelines which must be followed to ensure that your Will is admitted to court with no obstacles.  If the Executor (Personal Representative) of your Will attempts to admit a Will that is not in compliance with Florida Law, he or she will have hoops to jump through before the probate judge will admit the Will.  To be clear, “hoops to jump through” means money spent on attorneys to present an argument to the judge to admit the Will.

The very reason you did not hire an attorney to prepare your Will in the first place (to save money) will become negated by the fact that your loved ones will now have to spend money from your estate to get past any mistakes made in your Will because it was a “do it yourself” Will.

Use good business sense, call Estate Planning attorney Patricia H. Davis at 904.614-3670 or email me at pdavis@jaxlawattorney.com to see how affordable and easy it is for an experienced attorney to prepare your Last Will and Testament.

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