If you’ve gained reasonable amounts of property, the last thing you’d want is to force your family into chaos after you pass away. A will and testament would help you prevent this by detailing how you want your assets distributed to your beneficiaries, among other matters.
Drafting your will is a relatively straightforward process. And many people may be under the impression you’d always need a lawyer to create your last will and testament. The fact is you can do it on your own. Fortunately, there are several options you take to help you create your own will without the need of a lawyer.
Known as do-it-yourself (DIY) will kits, these documents have the same legal bearing as long as they meet specific state requirements. Here are details you need to know about self-written will packages.
1. What DIY Will Kits Are
DIY will kits are documents that make writing your own will as easy as it should. There are DIY will kits that are being sold online as well as digital will templates made available on the internet. This means aside from being in physical form, these legal documents can also be in electronic format.
In paper form, you may leave too much room for potential mistakes, especially if you’re unsure what details to include. To keep you guided, it’s best to opt for digital will-drafting platforms, such as Willed and similar tools, to ascertain your document is legally valid. There may be different templates needed for your specific situation, and a customized online will can ensure the form includes all the information required by law.
2. Advantages Of DIY Wills
Having a legal expert draft your last will and testament might cost you, depending on the state you live in and your specific situation. A self-writing will kit can help you save time and cost as it eliminates the need for hiring a lawyer to do it for you. Creating a will online or by filling out ready-made forms can also save you the time needed to search for lawyers and schedule an appointment with them.
3. Disadvantages Of DIY Wills
There are numerous reasons why having a will is essential. And you don’t need to spend too much money on making one, thanks to DIY will-writing solutions.
Nevertheless, caution should always be employed when making DIY wills. For instance, avoid DIY will kits that are bought from regular stores as these legal forms may be too general and leave out some specific state requirements. Some DIY wills may also forget to include essential legal considerations, such as taxes, minor children, and other unique concerns. When this happens, you might end up needing more time to draft your will.
The kinks in an insufficiently written will would have to be ironed out by the probate court, thus delaying the property distribution process. Worse, some states may invalidate some forms that weren’t properly done.
4. Costs For Making Wills
There are three ways you can make a will by yourself. And these methods are briefly described below, together with the cost of creating each will:
Lawyer-assisted wills: A lawyer may assist you in creating your will, which can cost you anywhere from USD$100 to USD$1,000. The cost would depend on your specific situation and the state where you’re at.
Online wills: This method may cost you anywhere from USD$20 to USD$100 on average. You’d be assisted by a piece of software in filling out some of the questions for your will.
DIY wills: These kits are often ready-made legal forms sold in some stores. These can be had for as low as USD$5 to USD$20, so it’s the cheapest of the lot.
5. Drafting Your Own Will
The process of digital will creation is somehow the same as how you’d do it when writing your wishes on paper. And there are also things you can and can’t include.
For online wills, there’s usually an electronic template you’d need to fill out. Basic information includes your name, all your assets, and the names of your beneficiaries. Naming your beneficiaries is also often easy. If you’re married and have children, your spouse and kids will have the right to be bestowed with a certain amount or portion of your property. Put simply, your will should contain basic information about what your properties are, the persons to whom you’d pass on your assets, and how.
For your document to be valid, generally you have to be over 18 years old and of sound mind. You’d also need to involve other persons in the will, such as witnesses and an executor, if you wish to specify it, who would be in charge of your estate once you’ve passed on.
On the other hand, there are details that normally can’t be included in a will. Some of these are instructions for avoiding probate, reducing estate taxes, donating money for illicit purposes, and leaving inheritance to pets.
There are cost-effective ways in making your own will, mainly through DIY will-writing tools. However, these easy solutions are best for individuals with simple requirements and not advisable for individuals with more complex situations, like having kids from previous marriages.
To save on costs, you may opt not to hire the services of a lawyer to create your will on your behalf. You can just ask a legal expert for advice on how to fill out the form correctly when filling out an online or DIY will.