Problems with do-it-yourself wills

By January 10, 2011Uncategorized

Technology allows us to do just about anything we can imagine online these days.  A Google search for do-it-yourself wills reveals innumerable software and instruction packages aimed at helping consumers create their own wills.  But while Arizona probate law allows people to create their own wills, what these Sites fail to express is that do-it-yourself wills are replete with problems.  Do-it-yourself will kits are simply no substitute for the counsel that an Arizona probate attorney provides.

The first problem with the one-size-fits all approach to creating a will is that probate laws diverge from state to state.  Arizona probate law is different from the probate laws of every other state.  A will deemed valid under the Arizona Probate Code may not be deemed valid in other states, and do-it-yourself programs may fail to recognize the subtleties that can make or break a will’s validity if it is challenged in court.

Secondly, while a will is generally an essential component to every estate plan, it is not always the best method of transferring property upon death.  Depending on the particular circumstances, people may find it advantageous to use a revocable living trust or payable on death account to transfer their assets to beneficiaries.  Only the counsel of an experienced Arizona probate attorney is sufficient to help individuals make these tough decisions.

Lastly, while do-it-yourself wills may save some costs up front, they can be more expensive to probate if they do not conform precisely to state law.  These wills can be more difficult to prove in court than a professionally drafted will, and they sometimes run the risk of being deemed invalid.  The best way to avoid these issues is to rely only on the counsel of an Arizona probate attorney when dealing with something as important as a last will and testament.