Many Americans do not have any estate planning documents in place. As we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, many of us have spent time thinking about what could happen if we become incapacitated or die due to coronavirus. Without a valid will, Massachusetts probate courts will divide up and distribute your estate according to its intestacy laws. When faced with the need for a will, it can be tempting to “order” a will from an online company like LegalZoom. Unfortunately, some significant downsides can happen when people don’t work with an experienced estate planning lawyer to create their estate planning documents.
1. A Lawyer Will Help You Determine Which Properties Are Controlled By Your Will
Many people assume that their will controls everything they own. On the contrary, a person’s will may not control all of their property. For example, if you own real property as a co-owner with rights of survivorship when you die, the property will automatically transfer to the other co-owner. Will you be able to dispose of your share of real property?
What if you are the beneficiary of a trust? Your will may not govern assets paid by a trust. Internet-based will companies cannot analyze all of the types of property that you own. Only an experienced lawyer can help you answer complex legal questions and create a will that addresses your unique situation.
2. A Lawyer Will Help You Ensure That Your Will Is Valid And Complete
When you fill out a pre-made form online to create your will, you may miss out on including important people in your life in your will. What happens if you’d like to exclude a step-child or biological child from your will because of discord in your relationship? Or, what if you have minor children and you need to provide for their legal guardianship?
All of these questions need to be answered by and discussed with an experienced lawyer. When you purchase a will online, a lawyer does not ask you questions or analyze your situation. Instead, you input information, and a computer system generates your will. Many popular online companies do not even provide lawyers to review the customer’s finalized will. More people are noticing that the wills they receive online are not legally valid, or that they have major flaws that are detrimental when it comes time to validate the will and proceed with probate.
3. Hiring a Lawyer Will Reduce The Chances Of Someone Contesting Your Will
When we sit down to create our will, we ensure that our assets will be distributed according to our wishes. Unfortunately, online legal services do not guarantee that the wills they create are legally valid. Only an attorney with knowledge of Massachusetts law will listen to your circumstances and discover potential legal challenges your will may face. Your lawyer can adjust your will to avoid challenges to the validity of your will.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Today
At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we have decades of experience helping Southeastern Massachusetts clients create effective estate planning documents. When you work with our legal team, you’ll receive personalized, one-on-one attention that you cannot get from an online provider. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375. This article is for illustration purposes only. This handout does not constitute legal advice. There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article. DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this handout. Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney. Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.