Many Albertans might consider do-it-yourself kits when they decide it is time to address estate planning. The amount of money they can save by finding cheap — or even free — offers to draft wills online is often the primary consideration for choosing to proceed without legal counsel. However, the slightest mistake can ultimately result in a will being declared invalid, and it is therefore not surprising that the DIY kits typically have disclaimers that seek to absolve the entity that offers the service of any responsibility for errors and omissions.
The laws that govern wills and estate planning are complicated, and without legal counsel, incorrect wording or provisions of the will could be incomplete or invalid. Circumstances that require careful consideration before drafting an online will kit include plans to get married or divorced. DIY kits also may not effectively address certain scenarios, situations such as being separated from a partner or living with a common-law spouse.
Special needs dependents and children who are not yet adults also require careful consideration. Owners of rental property, businesses and valuable assets or property outside of Canada may also run into trouble with a self-drawn will. Some couples choose to establish dual wills for the benefits of saving probate tax, and others might want to disinherit children or forgive debts in their wills. All these issues require appropriate language when they are included in wills.
While some Albertans might feel comfortable about having drafted DIY wills, their wills might not serve their intended purposes without the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Legal counsel can ensure that the documents are free of vague wording, conflicting or ambiguous provisions. An experienced Alberta lawyer can answer questions and explain what consequences individual decisions might have, none of which is provided with an online DIY kit.