Loved ones are fighting a prolonged court battle after the former Zappos.com Inc. CEO, Tony Hsieh, joined a long list of prominent celebrities who died without leaving a Will. As when Prince died without a Will, the court has said the CEO died intestate, the legal term used when someone died without a Will. But courts can still determine that you died intestate even if you tried to draft your own Will.
We see many cases involving individuals who thought “drafting my own contract” or “drafting my own Will” sounded like a good plan. There are many reasons you may want to draft your own contracts or create your own Will. It can be a desire to maintain privacy and control, save money on attorney fees, or simply thinking you don’t have enough assets to justify the costs. Unfortunately, he pitfalls of drafting your own contracts or drafting your own Will are numerous.
Common problems with drafting your own contracts can include:
- Failing to Account for Licensing Requirements – Many industries have specific requirements for licensing that come with specific statutory limitations and consequences. Failing to account for these can result in an unenforceable contract, jeopardize your license, or require you to double pay for services. https://pattersonbray.com/construction-contract-proper-license/
- Paying More After the Other Party Breaks the Contract – If someone fails to live up to their end of the bargain, you can take them to court. But you’ll still have to pay your attorney out of pocket, even if you win. An experienced small business attorney can make sure your contracts give you the best chance of recovering your attorney fees after you win. https://pattersonbray.com/small-business-tip-contracts-attorney-fees/
- Failing to Use the “Magic Words” – If you don’t clearly spell out your intentions in a contract, then you run the risk of having a judge decide what your agreement means. Some types of contracts are required to be made in writing for this very reason. A few types take this a step further and require precise words to be used in order for the contract to be enforceable. Knowing the different standards can be the difference between your small business’s “big break” and a piece of scrap paper. https://pattersonbray.com/get-it-in-writing-a-handshake-probably-wont-do/
Common problems with drafting your own Will can include:
- Fighting among loved ones – Even if you don’t feel you have enough assets to justify an Estate Plan, your possessions likely have deep meaning to those closest to you. Tensions and tempers are often highest after the passing of a loved one and disputes between friends or family members are all too common, especially if you’re named as the Executor. https://pattersonbray.com/ask-the-probate-lawyer-what-do-i-do-if-i-am-named-as-the-personal-representative-executor-or-executrix-in-a-will/
- Additional Expenses – A dispute arising during the administration of your estate can quickly cost more than the upfront cost of a basic Will or estate plan drafted by an experienced probate lawyer or estate planning lawyer. Estate planning is not only important for the super wealthy. In fact, a basic plan can be relatively inexpensive when you consider the potential legal fees and costs which arise when there is an invalid plan or no plan at all. https://pattersonbray.com/aretha-franklin-died-without-an-estate-plan-or-will/
- Your wishes may not be honored – If a court declines to admit your handwritten Will, there may be no option left to enforce your final wishes. An experienced probate lawyer or estate planning attorney can help you make your intensions clear (and legally binding) so there is no room to challenge them. https://pattersonbray.com/can-write-my-own-will-is-handwritten-will-valid/
Do it yourself legal documents come with a cost. Avoid the dangers of do it yourself legal documents by checking out our team at Patterson Bray for your small business or estate planning needs. Please call us at 901-372-5003 or email us here. We have offices in Memphis and Nashville TN.