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Preparing a will: Not doing your research could mean headaches for loved ones

Last Updated Apr 9, 2019 at 11:27 am PDT

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A prominent financial advisor says people need to do their research before writing up a will

Make-A-Will kits online can be a good option, better than typing into a Word document, which doesn't count: advisor

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s Make-A-Will Week in B.C., and if you don’t already have one, it can be hard to know how to get started.

Jim Yih has spent 25 years in the financial services industry and has written several books on the subject.

He says far too often, people think they can just open a Word document and type out instructions for the day they die.

“Full disclosure, my father-in-law did that thinking that this is ok. And I’m like, ‘well, there’s rules around it, who witnesses it.'”

He adds “the biggest mistake I think people make is they go and they try to type this thing out, and it’s actually informal, and therefore void.”

He says hiring a lawyer will help you avoid mistakes which can make your will invalid, as well as provide you with supplementary documents like an enduring power of attorney and advance directive.

If you want to save some money, there are countless DIY options out there, too.

However, if you go that way, Yih says take your time, do your research, and read the fine print.

“People just don’t know the rules,” he says, adding your loved ones might suffer legal headaches down the line.

“Just be careful, just put in the work. Don’t just Google ‘DIY’, download and template, sign the thing and thing you’re ok.”

He points out preventing possible legal battles between beneficiaries can be a lot more expensive than estate planning.