Over 40 years of practicing law one of the most common mistakes I have seen made is the informal, uncounseled, DO IT YOURSELF approach to wills and codicils. Yet again today, I had to tell heirs of a deceased person that having had their mom sign a document entitled “Codicil” did not suffice to disinherit a disabled child, who was previously named in a valid Last Will. The thought had been that by disinheriting the child, the decedent could have ensured that the disabled child remained eligible for certain public benefits. Unfortunately, they got it wrong when they tried. They left the former Will in place, the Codicil is invalid, and the disabled child will inherit.
The laws regulating wills and estates are not flexible. They require precision. If for no other reason than to make sure that your heirs have someone to sue if it is done incorrectly, NO ONE SHOULD DO THEIR OWN WILLS without an attorney.
Almost everything else that someone can do with the law can be amended, fixed, revised, reformed, or otherwise taken care of if the errors are caught in time. A Last Will is LAST once the testator has died. Period.
Use a lawyer, your heirs will be glad you did.
This article is written by an attorney at Attorney Donald Wyatt PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today, please click here to contact us.