The Finance Blogger

Do I need a lawyer for a will or can I do it myself with an online form?

do I need a lawyerThe quick answer to do I need a lawyer for a will is no you do not always need a lawyer to prepare a will, however there are reasons why you might consider having a lawyer prepare your will for you. If your assets are complicated or you have multiple beneficiaries, then using a lawyer might make their lives and yours easier.

Even if your worried about the expense of preparing a will using a lawyer, always make sure you have one. Having a simple will is better than no will at all. At the very least your intentions are made known. Your heirs will have to sort things out based on your directions. A simple will basically says everything goes to your spouse unless they die at the same time, or predecease you. In that case everything goes to your heirs as per your specific instructions which could simply be split evenly between them.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will?

Over 50% of consumers do not have a will. They delay and procrastinate and do not really understand what happens if you die without a will.

For a straight forward will, a lawyer will charge something in the order of $500 to $1000 and can complete it within an hour or two. You review it, sign it and they witness it. It is pretty easy.

You can also use one of the online will websites for around $100. They are also pretty straight forward. Just make sure that you use the forms that are legal for the state you live in.

More complicated wills should really have a lawyer prepare and review them. Your instructions will be clear and you will be following all tax laws etc. Homes, cars, stocks, heirlooms etc. can all be specified in the will to be dealt with as per your instructions.  With no will the courts will step in and divide the assets according to their formula which may not be what you had planned.

Finally, make sure you keep your will up to date as life changes take place. Getting married, having kids, divorce, moving, deaths in the family can all be reasons you may want to review and possibly update your will. Tell your heirs where the will is and how to find it. If you use a lawyer, they will also keep a copy. Your heirs should also be aware of the lawyer that you used.

For more information on wills, click here.

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