Pitfalls of handwritten “do it yourself” wills
As an Estate Planning law firm, we often have potential clients who ask us why they cannot simply write a handwritten will rather than pay an attorney to draft a will for them. While North Carolina does recognize handwritten or holographic wills (provided they meet the necessary requirements), there are some dangers in relying on your own handwritten will.
If you are like me and have atrocious handwriting, a court and your heirs may have difficulty in reading your will. There may be confusion if you have mixed handwritten and typed wills as to which will is valid or if all the documents are purported to represent one will.
North Carolina has certain requirements for a will to be valid. You may err by not meeting the necessary witness and signing requirements imposed by North Carolina.
Further, you may not use the appropriate wording to correctly convey your property correctly. If your wording is ambiguous and unclear, it what your intended to happen may not occur due to differing interpretations. More importantly, you may not properly dispose of all your property that you may own at the time of your death.
An estate planning attorney can make sure your unique meets are being met; that all your beneficiaries are protected; you have the advantage of maximum tax savings and that all the formal requirements of a will are met to name a few. Yes, you will pay for the attorney’s expertise. But, the price will be well worth it to make sure you have a proper will that carries out your true intentions.