New York Estate Planning News - Find a NY Estate Attorney

Wills And Trusts Software Doesn't Eliminate The Need For A NY Estate Attorney

While we have written about DIY wills before on this blog, it still is a hot topic for New Yorkers who don't have the time or money to meet with a NY estate attorney.

The New York Times reporter Tara Siegel Bernard test drove four different types of wills and trusts software in order to assess how trusty computer generated wills are. After she wrote her wills with the software, she then handed them over to a New York estate planning lawyer in order to look for errors or potential legal problems. The final verdict was that while three of the four wills drafted by software were perfectly legal documents, the wills had very different ways of approaching important estate issues such as estate taxes.

Some of the wills and trusts software on the market are: Quicken WillMaker Plus 2011, LegacyWriter, LegalZoom, and BuildaWill.

While the actual drafting of the will may seem simple with any of these software programs, there are a few important things to remember:

  • Will Signing: Any NY estate attorney can tell you that you need to properly conduct a will signing ceremony. In New York, this means that after signing the will in the presence of two witnesses, the writer must declare out loud that his document is his will.
  • Your Assets: You need to be aware of what assets can pass through a will and what does not. Life insurance policies, 401(k)s, and I.R.A.s do not.
  • Your Beneficiaries: Not all beneficiaries are easily defined. If you want to include someone not typically defined as an heir in your will, you may need to draft a will with a New York estate planning lawyer.

While these are just some things to consider when you are drafting a will, it is important to realize that each estate plan is different and may not be suited to a general will drafted by a software program. For more general information, please visit our Related Resources links.

Related Resources: