Many Michiganders love to take on do-it-yourself projects. There is just something satisfying about seeing one’s vision come to life. Not everything should be turned into a DIY project, though. For instance, when creating a will, it may be tempting to download a template from online and just fill it out. For a select few individuals, this may be sufficient, but for most, it won’t even begin to offer the protections that they need or want for their assets or their loved ones.
A DIY will in numerous ways. First, online templates are typically generic. This means they often fail to meet state requirements, essentially rendering them useless. Sadly, it is surviving family members that will be left to clean up the mess in the end.
Second, they are not always worded correctly or may contain spelling errors. This is a big deal because wording is everything in the legal world. One wrong word or misspelling can change how a will is read. It can result in the estate being administered in a way that is not intended.
Third, a DIY will does not cover health care directives or powers of attorney. It also won’t help if one is wanting to place assets into a trust. In other words, a solid estate plan generally includes more than a will.
The sole benefit of pursuing a DIY will is the cost. Yes, they are cheap, which makes them appealing. However, they are only cost-effective upfront. In the long term, loved ones may end up losing out on the inheritance intended for them as legal challenges may be filed against the estate which can take time and money to resolve.
In most cases, a DIY is not going to be sufficient. There are simply too many things that can go wrong with these documents. Michigan residents who want to make sure their estate plans truly reflect their wishes and offer the protections they desire, would be better off turning to an experienced attorney for assistance with the estate planning needs.