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Be Wary of Do-it-Yourself Wills Says Kansas Probate Attorney

Weber Law April 25, 2014

If it seems like it is now easier than ever to make a will, you may be considering using a computer program or online form that promises to help you create a valid will. These products are widely available, and they vary greatly as to price and quality. Unfortunately, most of these “will in a box” types of products fall short of enabling people to draft wills that will actually cause their final wishes to be carried out as they intend them to be.

This problem is not unique to Kansas, as do–it- yourself (DIY) will forms are available for all of the states. Unfortunately, some of the forms and even some of the software programs do not account for the differences in probate law between the states. For example, the requirements for signing a will, i.e. how many witnesses must be present in order for it to be valid, what procedure must be followed for signing it, and so forth, vary from state to state. If you use a form or software program that does not have the correct information on it, you may have an incorrect number of witnesses at your will signing. The worst part is that you may not even realize it unless one of your witnesses happens to be familiar with Kansas probate law.

Mistakes in signing and witnessing wills are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the variety of mistakes that can be made using do-it-yourself will forms and software. The truly unfortunate thing about these mistakes is that they are not usually spotted until after the death of the person who created the will, when they cannot be remedied. Even if you have only a handful of assets, making a will is still best accomplished by working with a knowledgeable Kansas probate attorney.

Also, a will may not be your only option or your best option when it comes to planning your estate. Working with an experienced Kansas probate attorney means that you will learn about whether and how making a will can work for you, as well as other options that may make things easier and less costly for your family in the future. Some of the best estate planning tools are not available in a DIY format, and some of the tools that are available may contain the same types of mistakes and inadequacies as the “will in a box” products do.

Wills and estate plans are important because they protect your family and your assets, ensuring that your wishes are actually carried out after you pass away. If you do not already have a will or estate plan, it is important that you make one as soon as possible. That said, when you do decide to make a will or an estate plan, do not be tempted by the low prices and seeming ease of use of commercially available DIY wills and estate planning tools.

Whether you have few assets or many, working with a Kansas probate attorney to draft your will can give you the confidence to know that it will pass muster when it is probated. Contact the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. online or call us for an initial consultation. Our Wichita office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We also offer weekend and evening hours by appointment. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.