So You Think You Already have a Will?

The majority of Americans don’t have a Will, but you may be one of those people who know the value of sound planning and have a Will. Congratulations!

Some people consult a local attorney who can make specific recommendations and who knows the local law regarding probate and estate administration. The attorney has years of experience in this area. He or she can anticipate problems long before they occur and can warn you of weaknesses in your planning that you might not be aware of. The lawyer has malpractice insurance too, meaning if he or she makes a mistake, you (or your next-of-kin) have a deep pocket to rely on in the future.

Some people choose one of the online services such as Legal Zoom, to help them prepare their plans. While a little cheaper than a local attorney, these services are available at all hours, day or night, and are thus more convenient for busy people. The downside is that there is no personal interaction and the results you get are largely based on how you answer questions at the input stage. It is highly doubtful that the software engineers who created the program have ever been to Alabama. They are unfamiliar with local probate practice and probably have little actual experience administering an estate here or anywhere. If there is a problem in the future, the company might not even be in existence when the mistake becomes apparent. No deep pocket to rely on!

Some people choose to write their own wills. They don’t understand that a Will does a lot more than distribute your worldly possessions, so their Will is nothing more than a memo to the world that their stuff is to be distributed in a certain way. In order for a document to be accepted as a Last Will and Testament, it must contain certain specific minimum requirements. If all of the requirements are not there, you died without a Will. It is as simple as that. Your list of who gets what is of no value. Because you were trying to save a few hundred dollars, now your family must pay several thousand dollars to have your estate administered “intestate”, meaning without a Will. Was it worth it?

Having a Will prepared by a local, reputable attorney is not expensive. Going through probate without a valid Will is expensive. So, do you have a valid Will or don’t you? Call us if we can help. The call and meeting is free of charge!

Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning LLC