Use fill-in-the-blank forms for my estate planning?

Fill-in-the-blank forms bring to mind the many things people do these days to try to save money by doing-it-yourself.  Whether it is tax preparation or painting the house, the more adventurous among us are willing to give up a weekend or several in order to save themselves a pile of money by avoiding the use of professionals.  Even I have been known to do such things.

However, the preparation of your Last Will and Testament an estate planning in general is not an area that you want to trust to a fill-in-the-blank form that was prepared years ago by an unknown drafter in another state.  There are numerous reasons why you want to use a professional estate planning attorney for these important legacy documents.  The most important reason is that these documents are prepared to be used after your demise.  You will no longer be around for your family members or the probate court to check with to see what you really intended if there is a mistake made in your Will.  Without going into detail, Wills completed on a fill-in-the-blank form are notorious for being done incorrectly.  If the wording is vague or unclear, it can result in a dear family member not getting the gift that you intended for them.  This can also cause conflict within the family, and sometimes lawsuits.  To avoid this, it is best to hire a professional that can draft a top-notch and mistake-free Will that will carry out your intentions after you have gone.

Another reason to avoid these forms is that they are usually prepared by someone that is not familiar with the state law which governs the law of inheritance where you live, and where you will eventually pass.  For instance, the law in Washington pertaining to how wills are interpreted is much different than the same body of law in Oregon.  For instance, Washington is a community property state while Oregon is not.  Just this one seemingly small difference can drive dozens of differences in how a Will (and many other legal documents) should be prepared.

I could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is that the drafting of your important estate planning documents should not be left to a large technology or publishing company that generates fill-in-the-blank forms somewhere is the country (or maybe outside the country).  You should instead seek out an experienced local attorney in Mount Vernon, or elsewhere in Washington that will closely focus on how best to draw up documents  that will achieve your specific goals and intentions.

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