In today’s era of on-line forms, office supply stores, and software, it is becoming increasingly more common for people to try to prepare their own estate planning documents. Whether it is a simple Durable Power of Attorney, a Living Will, a Last Will and Testament, or a Trust, there are plenty of ways that people can try to create their own estate documents. In our practice, we often see this result in an outright DISASTER!
Just today, a client came to our office with the Last Will and Testament of a loved one. The loved one had recently died and the client wanted to know if the Will was valid. Plain and simple–it was not! It lack a certain fundamental requirement under Florida law. One small error resulted in the Will completely failing. If presented to a probate court, the Will would be thrown out. As a result, the deceased person’s wishes will not be fulfilled.
We are beginning to see this happen with increasng frequency. Because of the abundance of information and document forms online and elsewhere, people are lured into thinking that they can do their own documents. This may give them a false sense of security but it is often backfires on them.
So why do people fall into this trap? It can be explained by eiher arrogance or by frugality. Either they are arrogant enough to think they don’t need help or they are too cheap to seek professional help. Sadly, in the end, the resulting cost can greatly outweigh the cost of having an estate planning lawyer prepare their documents. For whatever motivation, doing it yourself is a disaster!