Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L.
Call Today. 305-508-5749 | 877-421-5473

Complications may arise from do-it-yourself wills

Some Florida residents may think about how they want to provide for their loved ones after they die. There are a number of estate planning options that may help in this regard, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Some people may opt for a do-it-yourself option, downloading pre-printed forms and filling in the blanks in order to create a will. These may be valid, but there are other concerns that may arise.

In one case that reached the Florida Supreme Court, a woman wrote her will on a pre-printed form, listing out her items of property and the details for her bank accounts. She left her assets to her sister and then her brother, if her sister predeceased her. Wills should, generally, contain a provision to include all assets that are not specifically mentioned elsewhere, called a residuary clause. This makes sure that any items that were not specifically named will still be distributed according to the person's wishes. However, in this case, the woman's form did not include a residuary clause, meaning that only the items specifically described were covered.

After she received an inheritance from her sister, she did not update the will. Without any clause to address it, it passed via intestacy to her nieces, despite her never naming them in the will. Her brother took legal action, but the lack of a residuary clause meant he could not recover the property.

While the woman may have meant to save money by using a pre-printed form, the case eventually led to costly litigation that stripped assets from the estate as well as unintended heirs inheriting property. An estate planning attorney may help people to avoid these pitfalls and create wills, trusts and other key documents.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • I have known and worked with Austin Frye and his team since 2008. In that time he has helped serve both my business and personal legal planning needs. From guidance on reviewing and keeping shareholder and state documentation up to date... - Robert
  • It is difficult enough to cope with the emotional challenges of closing a parent's estate, and when you are also faced with the issue of your parents having insufficient documentation, and being remote from your siblings… - Zara L.
  • Austin Frye provided legal services to my father while alive and to his estate after his death; when showing the EP docs his firm prepared to other professionals (lawyers, financial advisors, accountants)… - Mark S
  • I've been a client of Austin Frye's for over 10 years. In that time, he's handled my estate/trust planning and asset protection as well as complicated business deals. - Leslie
  • Mr. Frye recently set up a complicated special needs trust for my son and, as usual, did a great job explaining it and in putting our minds at ease about our son's future well-being. - Dr. Howard
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar 1950
  • CFP
  • Florida Bar Elder Law Member
  • Academy Of Florida Elder Law Attorneys
  • Florida bar Business law Member
  • NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Email Us For a Response

Contact Us For Personal Attention To Your Legal Matter

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location

Get In Touch With Us
20900 W. Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33180

Toll Free: 877-421-5473
Phone: 305-508-5749
Map & Directions