By Brad Wiewel, of The Wiewel Law Firm
Many state Supreme Courts have pro se forms for people to use when filing different types of legal actions. A Senate proposal in Texas is proposing that the state’s Supreme Court be required to create forms for estate planning and probate.
Many people cannot afford lawyers or they do not believe they need lawyers for their legal needs. This has spawned an industry that sells standardized legal forms for people to fill out and file with the courts. These forms are often cheaper than hiring an attorney on the front-end. On the other hand, if the forms are inaccurate or filled out incorrectly, then hiring attorneys to fix any problems can get expensive.
One response from state courts is to create their own official forms and offer them for free. This is especially common in family law.
The Wills, Trust & Estates Prof Blog reports on a current debate in the Texas Senate to require the Supreme Court to create standardized forms in estate and probate law. The article is titled “Texas Senate Bill Proposes Pro Se Estate Planning Forms.”
One potential downside to this proposal is that it might encourage even more people to think all they need to do estate planning is to fill out a form instead of hiring an attorney. The truth, however, is that the more complex your assets and your family situation is, the more you need an attorney.
If you have few assets and wish to leave them all to your spouse, then a form Will might in fact be good enough. When things get just a little bit more complex than that, then you really need the advice of an estate planning attorney.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney because, when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your assets, do-it-yourself planning puts everything at risk.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (March 9, 2015) “Texas Senate Bill Proposes Pro Se Estate Planning Forms”