What Will Won't Work

Is Joyce's idea of a last will and testament something that will hold up in court?

QUESTION: Joyce wants to get started on her last will and testament, and asks Dave why a regular piece of paper with her wishes written on it would not suffice. It wouldn’t for a few reasons, says Dave.

ANSWER: State law may not call that a will. It doesn’t matter what your intent is. If you leave out a phrase or have no witnesses, then it’s no good. Besides, doing it yourself like that isn’t saving yourself much money. Go to uslegalforms.com and you can get wills cheaply.

One will drawn up with both your names won’t work because you are not one person. I have run into lots of families who are grieving and handed a piece of paper with a will written on it, and it won’t stand up in court because it wasn’t done according to state law. It ends up with you going through a bunch of crap and a lot of heartache, and it costs a lot more than $30. I would never recommend that you write your own will unless you are a licensed attorney in that state.