Drafting a will is fraught with pitfalls a lay person may not foresee. Is the will self-proving? Does it require that a personal representative post bond? Does it authorize your personal representative to do what you want done? If not, your estate proceedings will be much more cumbersome and costly. Much more of your money may end up paying for court proceedings instead of passing to your heirs.
Without a will, the state laws where you reside ultimately determine who your assets go to when you pass away. It is incredibly important to have a will to make sure your assets are given to those whom you choose as well as any other requests you have for your property. With the internet making everything only a click away, online wills are available with only a search. While these can be a fast alternative to getting an attorney, it may not always be the best choice.
This article will go over the pros and cons of DIY wills and the reasons why hiring an attorney for estate planning and will writing can be more beneficial in the long run.
What is a DIY Will?
A DIY (Do-It-Yourself) will is a will that you yourself write. When making a DIY will, you would use a will template, online resource, or will kit to help guide you through the process. DIY may be cost effective, but there are pros and cons to making your own will without the help of an attorney.
Pros of DIY Wills
- It’s easy and free to make.
- It’s fast.
- It can be sufficient coverage for those with minimal assets or uncomplicated estates.
Cons of DIY Wills
- A DIY will mistake can have lasting consequences for your beneficiaries
- DIY estate planning can’t answer your questions
- DIY will can’t keep up with state law
- Can cost you money if the validity ends up being contested because the will was not written well enough to withstand objections
- DIY wills may not fully apply the needs of minor children, especially if it is a blended family
Reasons to Choose an Attorney for Your Will Planning
In Alabama, everyone needs a Will, even if your estate is modest. Here are some of the ways having an attorney for your will planning is the better choice:
1. Their Experience Helps Build a Better Will
When you hire a lawyer to help you with your will planning, you are also getting their years of experience and knowledge when it comes to wills like yours. They have seen it all and can help you work through any issues or questions you may have during the process of creating the will. An attorney’s insight can be priceless when dealing with your will as they are a neutral third party which can be invaluable when dealing with family dynamics.
2. Your Will Attorney Can Help You Update The Will
Life events can cause your will to change. Divorces, marriages, children, and other situations will see you wanting to update your will more likely than not and doing so without an attorney can prove to be quite taxing. You will save time and energy when you have an attorney helping you update your will as they know all the right clauses and laws for whatever situation you need to change or update.
3. An Attorney Will Avoid Common Mistakes
One thing you do not want to do is have mistakes on your will. DIY wills are susceptible to mistakes and that can invalidate the entire will in some cases. Having an attorney to proofread your will to make sure all legalese and verbiage is correct as well as all areas are property filled out is essential to making sure your will is legally sound.
4. A Good Attorney Will Make Sure Your Assets Are Distributed to the Right Individuals
One of the most stressful parts of will planning is family dynamics and how intense people can get when money is on the line after the death of a family member. A lawyer will know exactly how to draft your will so your assets are given to the proper family. They will also make sure your will is hard to contest because although you cannot prevent a will from being contested, there are ways to reduce the risk. An attorney will help with the hardest areas of your will planning so the stress is taken off of you and your wishes are properly transferred to the will.
Other ways attorneys are helpful for will planning:
- They create necessary trusts to preserve wealth for spouses, children, grandchildren, and other family members;
- They help explain professional tax guidance;
- Attorneys distinguish accurately between probate and non-probate assets;
- They provide representation for executors of the will, trustees, or estate administrators;
- They create a valid trust for special needs children;
- They can create an accurate advance health care directive or durable power of attorney.
Need An Experienced Attorney in Alabama for Your Will Planning?
At Brackin Law Firm, we have been assisting our clients with estate planning and will/trust drafting for decades. Whether your estate planning is simple or very complex, we will provide you with the estate planning solutions that you need to protect your family legacy.
If you’re searching for a skilled attorney specializing in estate planning, living wills, and power of attorney, get in touch with us today to schedule your initial consultation.