Protecting Your Wealth One Piece At A Time

Risks associated with using a handwritten will

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Drafting a will is part of planning your estate. While some people choose to write theirs by hand, there are serious risks associated with this method.

Understanding the risks of using a handwritten will is key to making smart decisions about your estate.

Lack of legal formality

Handwritten wills often lack the formalities required by law. Without proper formatting and signatures, these documents may not hold up in court. This could lead to disputes among beneficiaries and lengthy legal battles.

Interpretation issues

One of the primary risks associated with handwritten wills is the potential for misinterpretation and ambiguity. Handwritten documents often lack the clarity and specificity necessary to clearly outline your intentions. Without clear instructions, disputes among beneficiaries may arise, leading to lengthy and costly legal battles.

Potential for fraud

Due to their susceptibility to forgery, handwritten wills pose a higher risk of fraud and coercion. Without witnesses or notarization, it becomes challenging to verify the authenticity of the document and the testator’s mental capacity at the time of writing.

Inadequate coverage

Handwritten wills may fail to address all necessary aspects of estate planning. Individuals may overlook important elements such as guardianship arrangements for minor children, specific bequests or tax planning strategies. This oversight can have significant consequences for beneficiaries and heirs.

Difficulty in execution

Unlike formal wills drafted with legal assistance, handwritten wills may not provide clear instructions for execution. Executors may encounter difficulties navigating the probate process, leading to delays and additional expenses.

While it may be tempting to create a handwritten will as a quick and inexpensive solution, the risks associated with doing so far outweigh any perceived benefits.