5 Myths About Wills – What You Should Really Do

While reading today’s USA Today, I came across a good article  in the Money section entitled “5 Myths about wills – and what you should really do” (http://bit.ly/49gIDj).  The article gives some great advice from attorneys and counselors from around the country, addressing such myths as estate planning only being for the rich, a will keeps you out of probate, and that estate planning only needs to be once and then you’re all set.  The only point of contention I have relates to the discussion of do-it-yourself wills.  Ms. Hanks states that such programs (like Quicken’s WillMaker Plus and LegalZoom) are fine for a basic will because courts are typically “client-friendly with respect to wills,” and “judges want to honor people’s last requests.”  In general, that may be true.  The bigger issue I see is that using a do-it-yourself program may not accurately convey your last requests.  If it doesn’t ask an important question or you don’t understand the question it does ask, what do you do?  What good is having a court honor it, if the document is wrong?!  The advice and direction of an attorney is very important in this respect.  No matter what your economic situation, I strongly recommend discussing your estate planning with an attorney.  If you are unable to afford to do so, please know that there are income-qualified legal assistance groups that may be able to help.

1 Comment

  1. Actually, we found out that a will doesn’t always keep you out of probate, especially if you live in Florida. We went the route and had a revocable living trust that leaves us in charge of everything we own until both parties are gone, then we have named the trustees that will take over at both our deaths or if we become incompetent at any time. Everything we own is in the trust and if by chance anything has been forgotten, it is in a pourover will. Was pretty expensive but gave us peace of mind if we have little or much when we are gone. At least, the state will not be getting what we have when we leave here.

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