These days there are countless online will products and software packages that guide users through writing their own wills. There are various law firms that sell e-books about how to write your own will, and even more products available all over the Web that promise to make your will valid and able to stand the test of probate.
If that was really the case, these various products would not be laden with all sorts of disclaimers, not the least of which is “This software is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel.”
Basic Will Forms
While some will preparation software may be a good fit for those without an estate or for those who own no real property, for anyone who has assets to protect, children under the age of 18, real estate or land parcels, valuable heirlooms or artwork, a simple online will is not for you.
Requirements of the Will
Some states have different requirements. Do not think a Notary can verify your Will... they ONLY verify your original signature was really you. That could mean that the will was worthless, but that you signed it anyway. Be sure the Will is 100% current and names all beneficiaries accurately with their full names. Make sure the Will is signed before at least two witnesses. If possible, attach witnesses’ signed affidavits to the will, which might make it self-probating in the event that the will is contested. Keep in mind that a Will is only a "Want". A trust is usually easier, far more effective, and less contestable. With a trust, the Will only serves as a backup document for assets left out of the trust.
Private Asset Protection Trust
There is no substitute for a Private Asset Protection Trust that can help you protect your assets and ensure that your real property, life insurance policy and other estate inventory are protected against taxation and that your will is carried out in accordance to your wishes. A Private Asset Protection Trust is the best choice when you have a sizable estate to protect, and becomes even more important if you have minor children named as beneficiaries. You can get some free advice HERE.
In addition, your children will need to have a guardian legally named in your will in the event of your untimely passing. An estate planner can help you decide who is a good candidate for guardianship and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Will and a Trust
In the event of probate or will dispute, an online will or will preparation software cannot protect your wishes the way that an estate planner can. More importantly, a trust combined with a will is really necessary.