Ann Aldrich used a free on-line legal form to complete a will in 2004. She left specific gifts to her brother which consisted of nearly all her assets at the time she created the document. However, she subsequently acquired over one hundred thousand dollars several years later. When she died shortly thereafter, she had not revised the Will.
The brother argued that it was the Decedent’s intent to leave everything to him based upon the 2004 will. However, the Florida Supreme court disagreed in the matter of Aldrich v.Basile, — So.3d — (Fla. 2014), 2014 WL 1250073. The Court ruled that if she had intended this result, she could have easily included what is called a “residuary clause” that left everything to him. As a result, he now had to split these funds with the nieces of another sister who died before Ms. Aldrich.
This self-made will ended up costing much more than what was saved on the drafting expense. As an Estate Planning lawyer I have seen the many pitfalls of self-drafting and the litigation expense it breeds. The problem with pre-printed legal forms is that they simply are no substitute for legal advice. “Simple Wills” are rarely simple. However, our Las Vegas will attorneys can help you prepare a will at little cost. Call our experienced Las Vegas estate planning attorneys today at 702-798-4988 for more information.