Google, while an excellent tool for so many things, won’t be able to tell you everything you need to know about estate planning. Even more specific websites that claim to help you write your own will cannot walk you through the specifics that apply to your situation.
That’s why working with a legal professional is the only way to avoid any future issues from popping up which would call your estate plan into question.
Here are two lesser known facts about your estate plan that you should know.
1. Did you know that your documents are state-specific?
That’s right, documents are state specific.
When getting started with a DIY plan, usually the first question that is asked is what state you’re in, leading you to believe that your documents will be state specific.
Here’s a secret: the only state specific language you will see in DIY documents is the state you live in and which state’s laws your documents are subject to.
Aside from that, your DIY NC documents will look exactly the same as an Alaska-based will and exactly the same as a Texas-based will.
You need a local estate planning professional to help you analyze how the laws of NC impact planning for your family’s specific goals. Only local NC attorneys can customize your documents to your specific needs and the state’s laws.
2. Did you know that your signature isn’t enough to validate your will?
I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve signed my documents and now they’re valid.”
But what’s the difference between a will that is recognized under the law, and a piece of paper that has the word “will” written on top of it?
There are many requirements for writing a legal will, but the one that fails most often with DIY documents is the process of signing.
Some documents require a notary, while other documents require witnesses and a notary – do you know which are which? Who can serve as a witness and who cannot? Is there an order in which the documents need to be signed?
Correctly signing the documents seems simple, but it’s not, and if the documents are not signed correctly – or in the correct order- then they can be invalid – and worthless. The worst part of this is that errors in signing are frequently not noticed until the person is deceased at which point there is nothing that can be done to fix it.
This year, be sure to talk to a professional about your will to ensure it’s valid and effective to execute your wishes. Email Maria@SatterfieldLegal.com to get started, today.