Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me Write My Will?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

writing a willIn our last blog, we talked about planning your will and making sure your affairs are in order in the event that tragedy should befall you. You want to ensure that your property is divided up in a way that you see fit and that your immediate family gets everything that they are entitled to.

There are numerous sites that offer to help you write your will for a small, nominal fee. You can even get the forms online and write your will at no cost. However, on the other end of the spectrum, you have every right to hire a lawyer to help you write and be the executor of your will. So in what cases should you take the leap and hire a lawyer to help you set your affairs in order and have a proper will written?

You have a large estate. If you have a house, a car and a few bank accounts, you may not need a lawyer in order to create your will. Dividing these assets up are fairly simple and straightforward. However, if you have several pieces of property and heirloom pieces that you want to ensure are given to certain family members, then it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer to help write your will.

Your finances are spread out in numerous investments. Investments are always tricky to divide up when someone passes away, so retaining the services of a lawyer to help make certain the trust funds are maintained or stock investments are spread out equally among family members makes sense.

You want a non-family member to handle your estate. There’s nothing that says a member of your family must be the executor of your estate. In fact, in some cases, it’s a good idea to keep family out of the logistical end of the will after the death of their loved one. A lawyer will handle the process in a speedy, yet respectful way, whereas members of the family may find it difficult to grieve and handle an estate at the same time.

You would like to ensure that you have a comprehensive will. The wills you find online are sufficient enough, but they are nowhere near comprehensive. A lawyer can help you make sure that your family members get all the proper tax breaks and make sure that no corners are cut so you have an iron clad will when all is said and done.

Ultimately, the choice of hiring a lawyer is up to you and there is no law stating you must retain a lawyer for your will. But, when you have something more than a simple cut and dry case, it’s always a good idea to hire some outside help.


2 Responses to “Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me Write My Will?”

  1. From Sara at Saving For Someday

    Great article. As a lawyer who does wills and estate plans, I agree with you that there are times when individuals can do a will themselves. I would caution that they look up their state laws or ask a lawyer what they need to do to make it legal. Not all states are the same, so finding out what your state requires is critical. There are different rules for when a will is handwritten and when it is typed, and knowing the requirements is key to preventing the will from being invalidated for not meeting the minimal legal requirements.

    The other key is not to place the will in a bank lock box or safety deposit box. Many people do this for safekeeping, however, upon death the bank is prohibited from opening the box without direction from the probate court. Keep the ORIGINAL will in a safe location and let someone know where to find it.

    Disclosure: I am an attorney but my comment is not to be construed as legal advice. The reply is for informational purposes only.

  2. From Une Belle Vie Customer Service

    Great additions, Sara. Thanks!

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