Handwriting a will can be problematic.
You see handwritten wills in movies and read about them in books.
They seem to work fine.
Surely you could manage to draft a handwritten will successfully.
Not so fast.
According to a recent Fox Business article titled “Aretha Franklin's handwritten wills found: Big estate planning no-no,” you may want to think twice.
The article sites the Aretha Franklin estate as a cautionary tale.
In the following months, three different wills have surfaced.
All three were handwritten, or holographic, wills.
These have since been submitted to the court to see if any of them has legal standing.
This process will cost her estate in both time and money.
How do you avoid making the same mistake?
First, do not try to save money with a handwritten will.
These wills are not valid in all states.
Kansas and Missouri are among the ranks of states where handwritten wills are not recognized.
I know what you are thinking.
"I can just download a will on the cheap off the interweb."
Just because you can do something does not mean you should.
This option may be inexpensive upfront, but it often will cost far more in legal fees when the will is probated and there are "complications" with the document itself, its execution, or its distributions.
The best option is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
He or she will help you to create a plan to meet your needs and the laws of your state.
Once you have created a will, you should review it regularly with your attorney.
This ensures that the will is at all times current with changes in state and federal laws and up-to-code when it comes to inevitable life changes such as marriages, deaths, divorces, or births in the family.
These steps will protect you, your assets, and your loved ones far more than a handwritten will.
And peace of mind is priceless.
Reference: Fox Business (May 22, 2019) “Aretha Franklin's handwritten wills found: Big estate planning no-no”