Why shouldn’t you just get a Will kit or use an online service to write your Will? The real question isn’t can you write your own Will, its should you write your own will? Will the Will you write hold up in court? Estate planning is more than just filling out forms.
Reason #1 – You need more than just a Last Will and Testament
You don’t just need a Will, you need an estate plan. They are actually 2 different things. A Will is just part of an estate plan. An estate plan is a set of documents and actions to prepare for the time when you can’t manage your own affairs due to any reason. A Will is just one piece of the puzzle.
If you look at an estate plan as a set of documents, there are six you must have: a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, an Advance Directive, final wishes, and disposition of personal property.
Reason #2 – Save Time
Writing a Will that will hold up in court and includes everything it needs takes a lot of time. It’ll take a big burden off you by letting a professional shoulder that load. It’s a lot of work and time to write a comprehensive estate plan that’ll hold up in court.
Reason #3 – Save Energy
See Reason #2. Writing a comprehensive estate plan the first time takes a lot of energy. You’ll have to look up a lot of definitions and do a lot of reading.
Reason #4 – Save Money
An experienced estate planning lawyer knows where to look and how to save you more money than you probably can. From just plain waste to tax savings, there are a lot of places to save.
Reason #5 – Complexity
Creating an estate plan is part art and part science. If you get the blend wrong, your plan may fail. Phrases and words can make a plan work, or fail. And, the rules change all the time. Congress just can’t leave the tax rules alone.
It takes a long time to learn all the rules the first time and a lot of time keeping up with the rules.
Reason #6 – One Try to Get it Right
Unless you are planning on coming back, you have one try to get it right. You don’t get a second chance to get it right.
Reason #7 – Objective Viewpoint
A seasoned estate planning attorney is going to point out things you won’t see because you are too close to them. A lawyer can give you unbiased advice.
Reason #8 – The Law and Lawyers
Who is going to determine if your documents are valid? Lawyers. A Judge, who of course is a lawyer, is going to examine your documents and determine if they are valid.
Reason #9 – Insurance
Here is a current quote from LegalZoom, a leader in online document creation services:
“LegalZoom is not a law firm, and the employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney. LegalZoom’s legal document service is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. LegalZoom cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. LegalZoom is not permitted to engage in the practice of law. LegalZoom is prohibited from providing any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.”
And, it goes on to state:
“LegalZoom is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this site or any site linked to this site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site. In short, your use of the site is at your own risk.”
Read the full disclaimer at: https://www.legalzoom.com/disclaimer.html
As you can see, they disclaim any and all loss, injury, claim or liability. Lawyers on the other hand are fully responsible for their actions and carry insurance.