Families in the United States and the United Kingdom who think they can save a few pence by downloading wills from online services are learning the hard way that cheap wills usually become very expensive when the person dies. The only person who gets the bargain is the person who is paying for the will – executors and heirs end up paying full freight.
Not very long ago, the only way to have a will prepared was to go to an attorney. There were some how-to books available, and some forms that non-attorneys might find in the local library, but it was generally understood that if you wanted a properly prepared will, you needed to go see an attorney.
The process is very different today, but it does not always work out so well for heirs and executors.
Now, people can spend a few minutes online, pay a relatively small fee and create their own will. People can also go to all sorts of individuals who claim to be professionals in financial planning or retirement planning who will draft wills for their customers.
As these options are cheaper than hiring an attorney, many people choose them. Unfortunately, doing so is almost always a bad idea.
Fenland Citizen recently published an article titled "Cheap and nasty wills causing problems."
The article notes one example in London where a cheap will caused a problem.
It seems a gentleman had a will drafted that gave half of a piece of property to another family member. However, the property was owned in joint tenancy by the man and his wife.
Thus, when he passed away, the entire house became the wife's property as a matter of law. Now, the family member who was supposed to inherit half the property is suing the will drafter.
That is just one example.
The same type of thing happens every day in probate courts in the United States.
When you try to save money by getting a cheap will, it often costs more money in the long run because the will turns out to be defective in some way.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney and do not leave your estate plan to chance.
Reference: Fenland Citizen (August 2, 2015) "Cheap and nasty wills causing problems"