Pitfalls of printable online will forms

You have taken an inventory of your Minnesota assets, made an agreement with a guardian for your children, and downloaded a will on your computer. As you fill in the blanks, you may be pleased with how easy it all is. However, at Dunlap & Seeger, P.A., we have often seen such documents create more problems than they solve.

CNBC elaborates on the many ways DIY wills could cause problems for you and the loved ones you leave behind.

Your children’s guardian

You have chosen someone who will love your children unconditionally and meet their needs, but what if that person passes before you, or shortly after? What if he or she falls on hard times, divorces or moves across the country? Many people who fill out online wills do not realize they need a backup guardian, as well.

Your end-of-life care

After some careful thought, you determined that you do want to be resuscitated, but there are limits to the life-prolonging procedures you are comfortable with. These instructions do not go in your will. The executor of your will gets the document out and has the court validate it after you die, so any health care wishes – and funeral instructions, too – should be in a different document.

Your executor

The duties of the executor go beyond finding the will, having it validated and reading it to your heirs. This person has to inventory your estate, pay debts and taxes out of it, and many other responsibilities, so it’s important for him or her to know exactly what the position entails before agreeing to it. Someone who is less confident about taking on the role may feel better about it if he or she has legal counsel rather than a notarized internet form.

These are just three of the potential complications you could run across. More information about estate planning can be found on our webpage.

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