Do I need to hire a lawyer to prepare my will?
Do I need to hire a lawyer to prepare my will and other estate planning documents? The internet is flooded with do-it-yourself sources for those wanting to prepare these documents themselves. However, there are risks to do-it-yourself estate planning, including the risk that your wishes will not be carried out as you intend.
Do-it-yourself sources are not appropriate for even the most common estate planning problems such as children from a prior marriage, children with special needs, property that has appreciated in value resulting on capital gains, and estates that are large enough to be subject to estate taxes. Do-it-yourself sources can’t account for an individual’s unique circumstances.
There is also the risk that you may make an error by failing to understand the instructions or by following the instructions incorrectly. Documents that you create could be invalid, ineffective, or contain language having consequences you never intended. At your death, your loved ones will suffer from the lasting consequences of your mistakes.
Estate planning is more than preparing routine documents. Without years of legal experience and continuing legal education, it is impossible to know the correct legal solution for your particular situation and what planning opportunities are available. The costs of an attorney to create your estate planning documents are minor compared to the costs and frustrations that your loved ones will experience if there are errors in your do-it-yourself estate planning documents.
We hope this information will be useful to you as you consider your estate plan. If you have any will or estate planning document related questions, contact us for a consultation.