With so many do-it-yourself forms on the market, it might be tempting to write your own Last Will and Testament. But while you may think you’re saving a little money by doing it yourself, it could end up costing your loved ones greatly in the long run.
For starters, do-it-yourself forms are generic in nature – they have to be in order to appeal to the masses. But let’s be honest: your estate is anything but generic. Maybe you have a disabled dependent who will need special care after you’re gone. Perhaps you’ve got minor children, a family business or rental properties you’d like to distribute among your heirs.
Do you plan to leave everything to your beneficiaries in a lump sum, or would you prefer to spread it out over time? Better yet, why not tie some of that inheritance to milestones that encourage your heirs to pursue their goals and succeed on their own?
A self-serve form can’t accommodate this type of customization and unless you’re well-versed in estate planning law, you won’t be able to make the changes you need.
Another reason you should avoid writing your own Will is that laws change. That means that even if you manage to find a form that’s usable now, it doesn’t mean it will still comply with state law later. And having a Will that’s out-of-date and out of compliance is the equivalent to not having a Will at all.
But perhaps the most important reason to choose an attorney over a do-it-yourself form is the guidance you’ll receive from a qualified estate planning attorney. Just like an architect can help you design your dream house, a good estate planning attorney can help you design the perfect estate plan for you. A plan that protects your assets, provides for your heirs and even helps them avoid the lengthy and sometimes expensive probate process.
And that kind of guidance and care is something you just won’t get from a form.
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