Can you legally create your own will using commercial software?

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2010

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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


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

Answered 12 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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