Writing your own will is a lot like trying to do your own dental work. You can brush, floss and even use a water flosser, but the rest is best left to the trained professional.
It’s a fairly common question: “Why can’t I download a form and create my own will?” Estate plans, including wills, are important legal documents and getting things wrong can have long-lasting consequences.
The Frisky‘s recent article, “Why You Should Hire A Lawyer to Write Your Estate Plan,” says that writing your own estate plan can be a complicated thing—and one that a non-attorney may find very difficult.
It’s More Than a Will. Many people believe that a will and an estate plan are the same. This is not true. An estate plan is a legal strategy that prepares you for potential incapacity and eventual death. A will is a legal document that’s part of the estate plan.
Money, Time and Energy Savings. Creating your own estate plan will be more time-consuming than you may have thought. Hiring a lawyer to do this will cost you—but it will cost you more if you decide to do it on your own. Hiring a lawyer for your estate plan will save you time because he or she is trained in the law to do it the right way.
If you do finish your own estate plan and you realize that it really is a mess, you can hire a lawyer to do it over for you. However, calculate how much time, energy, and resources you’ve spent on making on your quick DIY estate plan. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney and create a sound estate plan.
It’s Complicated. If you don’t fully understand what you’re doing, estate planning can drive you nuts. That’s because every word you write is crucial. Everything you write counts and may be interpreted differently. The law in this area also changes all the time. Agencies in the federal government, the IRS, and the courts are always creating new regulations and decisions. Your estate planning attorney monitors all of this to make sure your estate plan is in compliance and takes the best advantage of the current law.
Objectivity. Another thing your attorney adds to the mix—in addition to legal expertise—is objectivity. Your estate planning attorney will give you a clean, unbiased view of your current situation, along with a fair and honest assessment of your options.
Having an estate plan created by an experienced estate planning attorney is the better choice. It will save you time and effort and spare your family and loved ones from a lot of expense and friction in the future.
Reference: The Frisky (February 6, 2019) “Why You Should Hire A Lawyer to Write Your Estate Plan”