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Why Making Your Own Will Could Be a Mistake

probate attorney

Perhaps you’ve realized the importance of having a will and plan on creating one. You may be wondering why this isn’t something you could create by yourself, either entirely on your own or with the help of a form. Self-made wills can mean expensive consequences and years of legal wrangling for your heirs. Read on to learn about why a self-made will may be a bad way to provide for those you love when you go.

Challengers are more likely to target a self-made will

It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true—few things lead to more fights among family members than money. If certain persons expected to be included in your will but were not, they may look for reasons to challenge the validity of your will in court. Challenges are much more likely to be successful when an individual without legal experience has created a will on his or her own, since it can be difficult to fulfill all the requirements under the law to create a valid will.

Holographic wills are especially vulnerable to challenge

Holographic wills, or wills that are handwritten, are even more vulnerable to legal challenge than form wills. Unlike some states, Kentucky recognizes wills which are entirely handwritten and in the testator’s own handwriting, but they are more easily challenged. Challengers may try to argue that the will presented to the court is not written in the deceased person’s handwriting. They may also argue that the testator was not of sound mind when the will was created, or that one of the heirs included in the will pressured the testator to be included, either of which could make the will invalid. Without testimony from an attorney or witness that supports the mental health of the will’s creator, it can be difficult to prove that a will written without help should be honored.

An invalid will results in the court deciding where your assets go

If the court determines that a will isn’t valid, then the will gets thrown out, with the testator’s property to be distributed according to the rules of intestate succession. This means that children or estranged spouses may receive assets that you did not wish for them to receive, and any non-relatives or charitable organizations you wanted to include will not receive anything. Additionally, if you failed to include certain property or assets in your will, the court will be forced to decide who should receive those assets, but an attorney can help to ensure that all you own will be included in a will and devised according to your wishes.

For assistance in creating a Kentucky will that upholds your desires and benefits those you love most, contact the seasoned and detail-oriented Louisville estate planning lawyers at John Ruby & Associates, at 502-895-2626.