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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

The truth about will-preparation software


Even people who use software to create their own wills should meet with an estate-planning attorney, according to an article in the New York Times.

The author of the Times article used several programs to draft her will, and then she met with an attorney to discuss her drafts—and their errors and potential problems.

In the end, she found she still needed a lawyer to help her understand and “decode” some standard clauses and their consequences. She had problems defining “heirs” and dealing with tax issues, among other quandaries that a lawyer helped clear up.

Also, she learned that it’s very important to conduct the will-signing ceremony in a way that complies with state law. This is something a lawyer can ensure, and it’s absolutely vital to creating a valid will.

The writer also points out that “a computer program can’t ask you about your family relationships or tease out complex dynamics, like your daughter’s rocky marriage.”

A lawyer can have a personalized discussion with you to find out what you really want—and need—in your own, unique will.

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