R Dean Davenport | Texas Estate Attorney
A recent survey suggested 60 percent of Americans don’t have a will or estate planning.
You know some of the consequences of not having a will. The value of your estate could be seriously eroded, or the estate might go back to the government.
Most people who don’t have a will in place say the cost holds them back. You might think one way to solve that problem is to write your own will. There are a few reasons you might want to think twice and call an estate lawyer to write a will.
If you’ve ever asked, “Do I need a lawyer for a will?”, you’re not alone. Many people ask this question, and the answer is technically no. You don’t have to have a lawyer write your will.
There are benefits to having someone with a legal background write your will though. A handwritten will, for example, may not be recognized as valid.
In most states, you’ll need to follow a particular format. You’ll need to have someone witness it. You’ll need to have it notarized, which means engaging a lawyer.
If your will isn’t recognized as valid, it’s the same as not having one.
We like to think of law as black and white, but there’s almost always room for interpretation. That’s why you need your will to be crystal-clear and say exactly what you need it to say.
If you’re not familiar with legal conventions, you may think what you’ve written is clear. When the time comes, however, your heirs may have difficulty executing the will.
What does an estate lawyer do? They do much more than write wills.
A will is actually just one part of estate planning. A plan is a much larger set of documents. Taken together, these documents prepare for disability or death.
Think about how much time and effort it will take to write not one, but several different legal documents. Hiring a lawyer will actually save you time and money.
Since most people say cost is what stops them from writing a will, it may surprise you to learn that working with an estate lawyer will save you money.
Experts say not having a will can erode the value of your estate. Your estate might end up paying more in fees, court costs, and taxes. An invalid will or vague wording will make costs add up.
Your life is constantly changing, and your will has to be updated from time to time. You may need to change it as you get married, have children, or experience other life changes.
You may also need to update the will in order to stay current with changing state and federal law. Every time you amend the will, you run the risk of nullifying it.
Do you need a lawyer for a will? If you want to be sure the will is up-to-date and valid, then yes.
These are only a few of the reasons you may not want to write your own will. For most people, it will end up costing more in the long run.
If you’re now Googling “estate planners near me,” get in touch. We can help you start making plans for your estate today.