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DIY wills may not achieve your purposes

If you’re like a lot of people, you may have put off doing your important estate planning. It’s never pleasant to contemplate one’s mortality but it is necessary to make plans for what is to transpire at the end of your life and beyond.

Some Cranberry Township residents may try to save a few dollars with DIY estate-planning kits that are either free online or markedly less than one would pay an estate-planning attorney to draft. But what many people don’t realize, those DIY wills and other documents might not hold up in court or have the right elements included to make them valid.

But what if I only need a simple will drafted?

Those who have very few assets or resources to leave to their heirs after they pass on may be able to get away with using an online DIY will packet. But, even then, success is never guaranteed. Some may not contain the right formatting applicable for Pennsylvania or might contain typos or other misinformation that would make it harder or even impossible for your heirs and beneficiaries to proceed through probate with your estate.

Aren’t these sites staffed by attorneys?

Usually, DIY estate-planning sites have attorneys on staff in advisory capacities, but much of the daily work is handled by lower-level staffers who may be lucky to have paralegal certifications at best. Your ability to consult one-on-one with one of the site’s attorneys about a specific inheritance problem is likely to be nil.

How come my friend used one to write his will?

Rarely are people’s estate-planning circumstances exactly the same. What worked for your friend may or may not work for your own individual needs and those of your heirs. These simple DIY documents also stop far short of trusts, which could be helpful if you want your heirs to be able to avoid the probate process.

Learning more about the probate laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can bring clarity to your situation and help you make the right decision about your estate plan.

 

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