Can I write my own will or use a form I found online?

Can I write my own will or use a form I found online?

Can I write my own will or use a form I found online?

The bottom line:  Tennessee law does not prohibit you from a DIY will; however, you risk writing a will that is incomplete or that does not comply with the law.

You have the legal right to write your own will.  And many forms are available online that promise to save you money.  You can, indeed, save money in the short term.  However, a do-it-yourself will or a will form may end up costing your loved ones money, time, and frustration after your death.

When you consult an estate planning lawyer, she will evaluate your specific needs and circumstances.  The will or trust that she writes for you will reflect that.  A form cannot respond to your unique circumstances.  As a result, your DIY will may not completely dispose of your estate; in that case, the probate court judge has to make some decisions on your behalf.

If your will does not comply with Tennessee legal requirements for a will, the judge may attempt to interpret your wishes or may reject your will entirety.  If your will is not accepted for probate, then your estate will pass according to the law of intestacy.  That means that Tennessee law—not you—determines who inherits from you and in what proportion.

If you are determined to write your own will, watch for an upcoming post on “holographic” wills.

Sometimes, it is just better to get a professional.  As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”   Don’t take out your own tonsils, and don’t write your own will.  A small investment now can save your family money, time, and frustration when they are grieving.

Pin It on Pinterest