Three of the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Creating DIY Wills

In Texas, “DIY wills” are not uncommon. A DIY will is a will drafted and finalized entirely by the person planning for his or her death. At our firm, we often say that DIY wills work until they don’t work. While they can end up being a fine option for those wanting to cut costs of hiring an attorney, they also carry inherent risks that can end up causing headaches and excessive fees for loved ones down the road. Today, we review some common mistakes that we see individuals make when they do decide to create a DIY will.

Mistake #1: Planning Only for Death

A common misconception is that wills and estate plans should only include provisions that instruct your loved ones on how to distribute your assets after you die. It is also important, though, to address what happens while you are still alive. For example, do you have a provision about power of attorney? Do your loved ones know how to handle a situation in which you might need to be intubated or resuscitated? Have you adequately addressed how you want to spend the final years of your life (i.e. in a nursing home or long-term care facility), and do you have the funds accessible to do so? These are all important considerations to include when drafting a DIY will.

Mistake #2: Failing to Update the Will

Circumstances change, and if you experience a life change, you will need to update your will accordingly. Wills are therefore not “one and done” documents; instead, if you purchase property, get married or divorced, have a child or grandchild, or acquire significant debt, you should add provisions about these events in the will you have drafted.

Mistake #3: Writing Unclear Provisions in the Will

Lastly, it is common for DIY wills to be less clear about what the author wants to happen with his or her assets. For example, if you want your assets to go to your grandchild – do you write in your will that your property goes to your grandchild, your grandchild’s estate if he has already passed at the time of your death, your grandchild’s spouse if he cannot accept the property, or your grandchild’s children as additional beneficiaries? It is important to consider these nuances, and it can be difficult to capture them without the advice of an estate planning attorney.

Are You Looking for a Houston Estate Planning Attorney?

At McCulloch & Miller, we walk you through every step of the estate planning process to make sure your interests are well protected. While it can be tempting to create a DIY will online, we often find that investing the time and resources in creating a thorough estate plan is well worth it in the long run.

If you are looking for a Houston estate planning attorney to provide you with expert and thorough representation throughout your own estate planning journey, look no further. For a consultation with a member of our team, give us a call today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

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