Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC | attorneys at law

3 reasons why you should stay away from DIY wills

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Estate Planning & Probate

Estate planning is a process designed to help ensure that your estate is organized, managed and distributed according to your wishes and intentions, providing clarity and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Due to the necessity of this process, you may start considering preparing a do-it-yourself (DIY) will.

While it may seem convenient, preparing a DIY will exposes your estate to potential legal issues in the long term. The following are reasons why you should avoid a DIY will.

DIY wills are susceptible to errors

Errors and confusion in your will can lead to unintended consequences such as important provisions being overlooked. These mistakes may result in disputes among family members, delays in the probate process and even litigation, ultimately undermining your wishes and causing unnecessary stress and financial burden for your loved ones.

You could overlook critical legal requirements

When preparing a will in Illinois, there are specific legal formalities and requirements that must be followed to ensure its validity. DIY wills may overlook these critical legal requirements such as the need for witnesses. Failure to adhere to these formalities could render the will invalid or contested in court, leading to delays, additional expenses and uncertainty in the distribution of your estate.

The risk of incorrect handling and storage

Without professional guidance, you may inadvertently mishandle or improperly store your DIY will, leading to its loss, damage or destruction. This can create complications during the probate process as the court may require the original will to validate its contents. If your DIY will is not securely stored, it may also be vulnerable to tampering or unauthorized access, raising doubts about its authenticity and potentially resulting in legal challenges from disgruntled heirs or beneficiaries.

If you are thinking of preparing a will, seeking legal guidance may be essential to help ensure that your wishes are accurately captured and your estate plan is legally sound and properly executed. When it comes to safeguarding your interests, knowledge and support combined tend to equal power.