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How "do-it-yourself" wills can end in litigation

It is not uncommon for Ontario adults to consider drafting their own will at home. A do-it-yourself will can seem attractive to those who have a good handle on their assets and descendants. The problem is that wills created at home can be much more easily misunderstood and contested, ultimately leading to estate litigation. Here are some risk factors people should consider before trying to write up this important document on their own.

One of the most common issues with wills created without external support is that they leave out important assets or have unclear descriptions. Contradictory instructions are also a common issue that can end in litigation for loved ones. These mistakes may not be identified until it is too late.

Digital will-making tools can also capture or provide outdated information. As Ontario estate law changes, this can cause major problems. While technology in this field does continue to improve, some of the complexities, nuance, and legal issues or changes may not be captured within a software.

Finally, wills written at home have less safeguards in place to prove that the person drafting the document is of sound mind. One of the most common reasons estate plans are contested is that one or more people feel the document was written under duress. Alternatively, one could claim that the person leaving the will was medically unable to think clearly or otherwise unaware of what he or she was doing.

Lawyers can confirm on a professional basis that a will is being drafted with the full knowledge and participation of the individual. This will prevent claims that a will should not stand. Their guidance can also help people avoid the contradictions, mistakes or missing information that can lead to litigation. Those looking to dispute a do-it-yourself will with some of the above listed problems can contact an Ontario lawyer for support.

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