A will is not a good do-it-yourself project. The cost of working around a minor mistake in a will can far exceed the cost of having a will properly prepared by an attorney.
Nevertheless, will kits and forms are widely available on the Internet, in bookstores, office supply stores, and other places. People can be attracted to these products by their apparent simplicity and low cost, but it’s important to use them with caution. Always have an attorney review any will that you prepare yourself.
Some disadvantages of generic will kits and forms:
- Some situations are more complicated and may require an attorney’s expertise.
- Materials are often condensed and simplified, leaving out details for unusual situations.
- Materials are written to cover laws for an entire nation but cannot cover every jurisdiction.
- Laws are constantly being revised and may require a different form of information
- The legal requirements for a valid will can be arcane and very difficult to follow. One minor deviation from what your state requires can invalidate the entire will.
To understand the importance of getting legal help in writing a will, see Prepare Your Estate Plan Case Study 3: The Disadvantages of Writing Your Own Will.
- a. What Constitutes a Valid Will?
- b. Types of Wills
- c. Will Kits and Forms
- d. Assets in a Will
- e. Changing a Will
- f. Dying Without a Will
Prepare Your Estate Plan belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you organize important household papers and to communicate your health-care wishes.