Many people in California try to write their own wills so they don’t have to spend money on legal fees. While they might save money in the short term, their heirs might have to spend thousands of dollars and wait months for the estate to go through probate. The people that they named in their will might not even get their assets.
What happens if you try to write your will yourself?
Some people think that writing their will involves listing their assets, distributing them to everyone and signing their name at the bottom. However, even a simple will can face legal challenges if the decedent didn’t follow the right procedure. For example, some wills need to be signed in front of a witness to be valid. The will might also have to be notarized at the end of the estate planning process.
Other people write wills that contradict other documents. Some people try to leave their bank accounts or life insurance policies to certain people, not realizing that the beneficiaries listed on these accounts override their will. Others write wills that contract their prenups and other documents that they signed during their lifetimes. As a result, their family members might have to argue about the issue in court.
Finally, many people don’t think about the legal consequences when they write their own will. Many people make the mistake of leaving everything to a disabled loved one. This sounds like a good idea, but their loved ones might lose all their government benefits because they’re suddenly wealthy. Other people leave everything to their family members without realizing that they might not be able to handle a massive lump sum.
Who could help you write your will?
An attorney might be able to help you write a will. With their help, you could prepare a will that’s valid in your state and leaves little room for legal challenges. This may help your family members get their inheritance as soon as possible. Writing a will isn’t just about distributing assets–you might want to set up a trust, figure out how to avoid probate, and prepare a power of attorney to take effect if you become incapacitated and unable to make certain decisions on your own.