Should you do your own will?
I live in Ohio, can I do my own will using an attorney online?
Yes, you could do it yourself, is it a smart idea? Well, wills have been around for a very long time. So there's just a tremendous amount of case law and statutory law you have to comply with. You have to have two witnesses. You can't write on your documents, if you want something changed. You can't leave a list behind and expect it to be incorporated in. So some complications for do it yourselfers. Do you own a home, in multiple states, or even in another country. I have a lot of clients that happen to have a family home in Italy. Do you think your basic do it yourself will is going to address what's going on in that country? Probably not. So, that's an issue. Being married- that kind of goes back to the estate tax exemption. Do you have a blended family? Are you concerned that your kids will get something and not everything goes to your stepchildren? You have to address that if it's something that is a concern to you.
Special needs. So is your will going to address somebody who needs some help after you're gone. Disability, or if they're on Medicare or Medicaid, those types of things. Competency issues. I have a lot of people that come to me for wills; and it's a little too late. When you put together these types of documents, you can't wait until you're in the hospital. That's why advance planning is important. And again, it's a complication for a do it yourselfer.
What happens to my home and other assets?
My family should get my assets, not the government. If you don't do any planning at all, the likelihood is they're going to take a nice little chunk. And this is just an example. A lady was living in a condo and she had this gentleman who said, "Oh, I can do your will for you". Well, he did such a bad job that she actually lost her homestead protection and she happened to have a lot of debts outstanding. Because of the way he did her will, she actually lost that protection and so her family didn't get the condo like they should have; and they couldn't sell it because, otherwise, it would have gone to the creditors.
The bottom line, to protect your family and preserve your assets, contact a professional.
Attorney Julie Phillips, Worley Law, LLC