Can you legally create your own will using commercial software?

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Can you legally create your own will using commercial software?

My parents both want to create Wills but do not want to go to a lawyer. Their estate is not very large, between $30,000 and $40,000 (this includes real estate they own). They basically want to give certain persons sentimental items, and have the rest of their possessions sold and the funds distributed between their children. Can this legally be done using software program to create a wWl and having it notarized?

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Estate Planning, Kansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Generally, A Will is valid if it complies with the requirements under the statutes in your state regarding preparation and execution.  If, however, the Will does not comply then it can be invalidated and the intestacy statutes of your state will apply. 

In Kansas a Will must be in writing (but not handwritten), understand the meaning of the will, be free of duress and execute same in front of two impartial (i.e., not beneficiaries) witnesses.  Oral wills are sometimes valid but I would stay away from them.  And there are limitations as to spousal shares (they can elect against a will for the statutory amount) should the portion given them be less.  And changes (called codicils) have to follow the same procedure.  A Will does not generally have to be notarized.  The affidavits of the "subscribing witnesses" have to be notarized but this can be done when the Will is being offered for probate.  Consider having an attorney review it for a flat fee to make sure that it complies with your state law.  Good luck.


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