Do It Yourself Legal Forms Should Be Approached With Caution
Do-it-yourself legal forms, are like assemble-it-yourself furniture. What happens when those instructions leave out a step, or the parts included are a few short? We’ve all been there.
Recently a man contacted my law firm to witness and notarize his fill-in-the-blanks will. He was exasperated because no one would notarize his signature. Since the notary’s job is to attest that the person signing is indeed the person signing, I knew this man’s difficulty was really that no one wanted to be remotely connected with his will signing.
Once I met him and read it, I knew why.
In addition to cutting out one of his children, and including a venting tirade, he hadn’t quite filled in all the blanks. So when the document “assembled” it was missing some important stuff, like a residuary clause. When I tried to tell him, no doubt he figured I was up to lawyer tricks and firmly and loudly declared that it “got the job done!”
But it didn’t really get the job done. Likely what it did was create a big mess for the kids he hadn’t disinherited. Yet he was pleased as punch that he saved money. To me it was like looking at some lopsided self-assembled bookcase and declaring it to be “just like the catalog picture!”
When my car starts making a funny noise, I don’t pick up the hood and start poking around. Why? Because I know I don’t know what I’m doing and this isn’t a good do-it-yourself project for me. Sometimes I’m happy that I remember how to open the hood and leave it at that.
Want to poke under the hood and get an idea of what a will should include? Check out Real Life Legal™ Estate Planning: A Road Map for Beginners.
Parker Press Inc. has provided this information concerning the subject matter covered, for educational purposes. Parker Press Inc. does not render legal or other professional advice, and information here is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney, nor does it constitute the rendering of legal or professional advice or services to a particular individual. If legal or other expert assistance is needed, the services of a qualified professional should be sought to address the specific needs in your situation.