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Can I Make My Own Will?

If you feel you don’t need the help of a lawyer or expert and that you can make your own Will by using a self-help kit, make sure your Will is reviewed by an expert experienced in estate planning laws. Self-help kits (and books) are great ways to learn about the process, but writing your own Will can expose your loved ones to unexpected problems and expense.

For example, even if you are clear about who should receive your assets and your property, you may not be able to express those wishes in an appropriate or legal fashion. If that happens, the Will you prepared could result in confusion and emotional distress – or worse.

Most experts recommend against writing your own Will, even if you use a self-hit kit or software application. Why?

  • The nature and size of an estate varies from person to person and must be handled accordingly. An expert can help you decide the best way to protect and distribute your property based on your individual situation and your individual needs and goals.
  • Laws regarding probate, Trusts, and taxes differ from state to state. A Will must reflect those differences. Different states work under different definitions for several terms, such as descendants, community property, and anti-lapse statutes.
  • Special situations require special planning. An expert can provide the specific advice needed to plan for your estate and deal with what happens if you are incapacitated or how to provide for minor children or disabled relatives.
  • If you own property in different states, your Will must reflect the prevailing laws in each state. Researching and understanding the legal implications is incredibly difficult for a non-professional.

To avoid problems, confusion, or emotional distress among your loved ones when you pass away, make sure your Will is clear, accurate, meets state guidelines, and is legally enforceable so that all your wishes are carried out.

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