If you have decided to make a will, but you are not sure how you are going to create it, you have just two options: you can do it by yourself (this is a risky option) or you can hire an experienced wills lawyer to help you make a will. Both options have their own distinct advantages; however, making the choice on the right option will depend on your specific needs.
Advantages of Hiring a Lawyer
Having an experienced lawyer draft your will can buy you some peace of mind as you will not have to struggle writing the will. A good lawyer can ensure that the will will comply with the state laws, and provides the best tax advantages possible for your heirs and estate, and accounts for the particulars in your specific circumstances.
In short, you will feel more assured and satisfied that the document made will stand up in court even if it is contested, and that all of your wishes will be carried out as desired.
When to Hire a Lawyer
There are circumstances in which hiring a good lawyer to draft the will on your behalf is the least risky option. You should hire an experienced lawyer if you have large assets in multiple states or countries, have been remarried, have minor children, or you are in a same-sex relationship, own a small business, or possess assets which are worth over $2 million or you believe that your will might be contested. An experienced lawyer may also be a very good idea if you do not understand the online forms you had bought or believe that the forms do not meet your specific needs.
Advantages of Making Your Will by Yourself.
The main benefit of drafting a will yourself is the cost incurred will be very little. Lawyers can generally charge between several thousand of dollars and a few hundred of dollars to draft a will. However, the price of ‘do it yourself online’ will programs generally cost between 30 dollars and 250 dollars. While writing the entire will just for yourself will cost you nothing. If your bequests and assets are straightforward and very simple, and you are carefully complying with the state laws, writing a good will without having to hire a lawyer should generally not pose a great problem.
If you decide to write a will without the help of a lawyer, make sure that you carefully research all the applicable state laws, particularly with respect to the spousal inheritance laws, the signing of the will and any requirements relating to the witness. Additionally, you should write all of your wishes as clearly as possible because the slightest ambiguity in a will can render it invalid. If you are going to use an online program to make a draft of your will, make sure you read all the instructions carefully and follow all of them to the letter. Some of these online programs will advise you to have a lawyer review all of your documents after you have prepared the draft, you should. This will give you additional peace of mind while still saving you money.