We often receive questions from clients about do-it-yourself wills or online wills. While there are many reasons that you should seek out the advice of a trusted and experienced estate lawyer to help create your will, here is a scenario that is far too common. As you will see, there will ultimately be two wills and many questions which lead to the question of can a person have two wills.
Bobbi and Sam were married for 15 years. During those years, they created a will together. Each of them left the other everything in the event of their death during the marriage. Neither Bobbi nor Sam had any legal knowledge about the laws in their state that govern probate, wills or estates. Neither sought out a lawyer. They were in love and trusted only one another, and the advice Sam found from the do-it-yourself articles on the internet. They typed out a will using a blank template found online, printed it off and put it in a filing cabinet.
On year 16, the couple broke up but did not divorce. However, Bobbi began a long term relationship with Toni. After many years, Bobbi died. At the time of Bobbi’s death, Bobbi had substantial wealth.
As you can imagine, both Toni and Sam want the estate left behind by Bobbi. This is why each of them should be properly represented by a lawyer. Toni claims to have a valid will that she and Bobbi worked out together during their relationship. Sam says it doesn’t matter what Toni has because she was legally married to Bobbi. But what would an experienced lawyer advise when it appears there may be two wills? Can a person have two wills?
It is likely that in our scenario above, each surviving party will seek their own legal counsel. An experienced estate lawyer will aid in explaining the law to each party. This may not be as cut and dry as each party believes. For example, did the original Will follow the law when it was created? What does the law say about a couple that separates but is not legally divorced? Were their children of the original marriage? What is the law of the state if the Will is invalidated?
Having a lawyer prepare your estate, whether it’s a will, trust or everything in between, is important to your peace of mind but it’s paramount to those listed in the estate after you are gone. You want to be sure that what you intended to happen, actually happens. Let my office help you with that task.
Part of the work that I do with my clients is helping them sort through issues like these so that their estate is protected and they can rest easy knowing that their decisions will be respected after they are gone.
If you are in need of assistance with planning your estate, or need advice navigating through problems after the fact, please contact our office at: (978) 269-4485 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. You may also reach out through our contact form.