By: Sarah Stewart Legal Group
Today, quick, easy legal services abound. There appears to be a great deal that’s too good to be true around every corner. LegalZoom and “certified paralegals” offering reduced prices and quick turnaround are everywhere you look. So, with all the latest technology and trends, the question remains, do you really need to hire an attorney to make a Will?
I, and many other attorneys, have encountered the shady underbelly of the quick and easy schemes. We’ve seen Wills thrown out in Court for being invalid, divorces have to be restarted because of shoddy work, and families who thought they knew enough to make documents that actually did not say what they meant them to say at all.
What many people seem to forget is that many attorneys are hip and savvy to the new technology today. I know several estate planning attorneys who, with some questionnaires, personal conversations, and copies of your photo ID, would be happy to help you quickly, easily, and possibly, entirely online. Attorneys who are schooled in the law of Oklahoma. Not a national chain that may not have the education you need to make sure your documents are valid and accurately portray your wishes. It never hurts to ask, after all.
That being said, there are valid ways in Oklahoma to make your own Will, without an attorney or legal service. Of course, if this is the route you hope to take, always proceed with caution. There are subtleties within our law you may not be privvy to and need to research. For instance, did you know that you can disinherit a child in Oklahoma, but in order to do so, you have to show explicitly your intent to disinherit that child? This can be done a few different ways, but the best is to expressly state you intend to disinherit the child.
So, with that in mind, how can you make a Will by yourself? For a Holographic Will to be valid in Oklahoma, you must have the following:
(1) Handwritten. Entirely handwritten by the person making the Will.
(2) Dated. The Will must be dated by the person making the Will.
(3) Signed. The Will must be signed by the person making the Will.
The Will can be written and signed anywhere. The person making the Will does not have to be in the State of Oklahoma when they draft it. The Will does not need witnesses, like other, more formal Wills.
Though it is possible to make a holographic Will in Oklahoma, you must also remember these Wills are more susceptible to family disputes and questions of authenticity than the common witnessed, signed, and notarized versions professionals will help you prepare. Whether a holographic Will is right for you and your family situation is a very serious question to consider before making one. However, if you have absolutely nothing else, at least this type of Will gives you and your family something to go off of when you die. And something is usually better than nothing.