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Can I create a will by myself, or should I get an attorney?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Estate Planning

Most of us understand the importance of creating a will. But the process behind it may be less clear. Is it always necessary to involve a legal professional to draft such a document, or will a do-it-yourself (DIY) will work just as well?

In today’s post, we explore some of the downsides of online estate-planning tools.

Problematic legality

Online estate-planning tools often leave you with a generic document that doesn’t suit your unique situation. For instance, it may not take into account state-specific laws or changing probate codes. This can affect the enforceability of your will.

What’s worse, is you may not ever realize such problems exist until it is too late. With DIY estate-planning tools, there is no professional to consult about your particular circumstances – to help ensure you’ve correctly covered all bases.

Wrong estate-planning tools

You may assume a will covers all of your estate-planning needs. However, not all property will necessarily be governed or distributed through a will. For instance, beneficiary designations are not paid through a will. In addition, if you want to leave assets to your loved ones with specific contingencies attached – such as incremental distribution of assets or guidelines around how the inheritance should be used – then you will most likely need to set up a trust.

You may not be aware of the full range of estate-planning tools that may offer important benefits to your loved ones. You likely aren’t even sure which questions to ask. Having an estate planning attorney to walk you through your options and provide recommendations for your situation can be extremely beneficial.

Missing property

DIY estate-planning tools expect you to know what you want. But the reality is, most of us don’t fully understand what all goes into an estate plan. Without a legal professional in your corner, key assets may be omitted. Any property that you fail to include in your estate plan will be treated as though you had no will at all – and be divided by the court according to Indiana intestacy laws.

While having a DIY will may be better than having no will at all, consulting with an attorney to review any estate-planning documents for errors or gaps is always a worthwhile step. It can put your mind at ease and save your loved ones from contentious legal battles down the road.