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The Dangers Of Diy Estate Planning
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There are a number of ways that we can all reduce our household expenses. Some penny-pinching tips make a lot of sense, while there are others that may sound like a good idea but can actually cause a great deal of harm. Do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning is one of those misleading ideas that may appear promising, but in reality is a recipe for disaster.
For example, a recent case brought before the Supreme Court of Florida involved a DIY will created using an “E-Z Legal” form, which caused a lengthy dispute among the heirs. Because the deceased didn’t consult a lawyer, she was unaware of the important difference between the stated intent in her will, and her true intent later jotted down in a handwritten note.
The DIY will specifically listed property owned at the time it was created, but didn’t reference assets received later. And although her intent apparently was to leave all her possessions to her identified beneficiary, the Court was obligated to honor the stated intent in the homemade will. As a result, her true wishes were not honored because part of her estate acquired in recent years was passed on to other heirs not referenced in the will, and only after lengthy and expensive litigation.
To highlight the perils of this cautionary tale, a member of the Florida Court took the time to add the following opinion:
“While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer, this case does remind me of the old adage ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’ Obviously, the cost of drafting a will through the use of a pre-printed form is likely substantially lower than the cost of hiring a knowledgeable lawyer. However, as illustrated by this case, the ultimate cost of utilizing such a form to draft one’s will has the potential to far surpass the cost of hiring a lawyer at the outset.”
In fact, it’s not uncommon to find that a great many DIY wills are completely invalid. Sadly we run across this all too often. Basic, pre-printed “EZ” forms simply don’t have enough space for necessary clauses or addendums, and their users can’t be expected to have sufficient knowledge of complicated legal matters.
To ensure that your wishes will be honored and to save your family from stressful and costly litigation, don’t hesitate to call us to schedule your estate planning consultation.
Bolinger Law Firm is a boutique law firm with a passion for providing clients with the best representation available. We pride ourselves on the fact that we can achieve this goal affordably and without the wasteful overhead typical of many large corporate firms. Our distinctive blend of professionalism and thrift has earned us a national reputation for legal excellence in Business, Estate, Oil and Gas, Probate, and Tax Planning. Bolinger Law Firm is Client Focused and Results Driven.
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