Estate planning largely revolves around preparing and passing on an inheritance for loved ones. You can also utilize this process to organize your medical preferences in the event of incapacitation, as well as guardians for your minor children.
Consequently, estate planning is very important and it is vital that documents are accurate and enforceable. To save costs, many individuals opt to draft estate planning documents, such as wills, on their own. While this is perfectly lawful – if such efforts are conducted in very specific ways in accordance with the law – it is a risky approach.
Your documents must follow legal protocols
A testator in Virginia must be at least 18 years old. Documents, such as a will, must also be signed accurately by the testator, and must be verified by two impartial witnesses who have no personal interest in the estate. These are just some of the key legal considerations. There are several others. Documents that fail to meet these demands will likely be deemed invalid.
You could leave your loved ones in the lurch
Invalid documents can be contested, and resolving such issues can take a long time. Ultimately, it may be left to the courts to decide how assets should be distributed. The ruling of the court may differ from the intended wishes of the testator. This could result in loved ones going without or weathering the stress of a probate dispute.
The safest way to draft your estate plan
The above risks emphasize the importance of seeking legal guidance when drafting an estate plan. This will help to reduce the risk of contests or invalid documents. As a result, it will be far more likely that your wishes will be both understood and respected when your estate plan becomes relevant business for your loved ones.