Protecting your loved ones is a top priority, especially in the event of an untimely passing. While many of us tend to overlook the importance of establishing a last will and testament, it’s still one of the most critical aspects of ensuring your family is secure in the event of a death. Writing your own will might seem straightforward. Outline your property and expenses, plus monetary values and call it complete. However, there are many other factors to consider. If you’re wondering: can I write my own will and have it notarized, here’s what you should address first.
Wills.com makes it simple to create a will online that is legally binding and official. We can help walk you through the steps without needing to hire a lawyer or take time out of your busy schedule. Learn more about our process for establishing a will today.
Why Is It Important To Have A Will?
It’s true, for many people, having a will is a good idea. Still, there are many that put off writing a will. However, realistically, most of us feel better knowing we’ve established provisions for the people and organizations we love and care about should we pass away. There are many different reasons for considering establishing your last will and testament including:
Protecting your spouse and children
Protecting your assets
Avoiding lengthy probate processes
Avoiding legal challenges for loved ones
Deciding inheritance and minimizing estate taxes
Whatever your reason for wanting to create a will, it’s critical that you move forward with your objectives. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming to draft one. Knowing your state's laws is key, but do you need a lawyer to make a will? The short answer is no. However, there are rules and regulations to meet when composing your own document.
The last thing you want is to cause confusion and distress after a death. It may feel that hiring an estate planning lawyer to help with a will is the best option. But with today’s technology, there are other pathways to take.
Can I Write My Own Will & Is It Legitimate?
Can I write my own will and have it notarized? Does this make it valid? These are common questions that many of us consider when looking at the cost of hiring an estate planning attorney.
The Cost Of A Will
According to Investopedia, the fee for having a basic will written with estate planning documents can cost well over $1,000. At the low end, a lawyer may be able to draft a will for around $400. Another aspect to consider regarding costs is making changes or updates to an established will. If you’ve purchased more property, for example, or assets have changed, the changes should be reflected in a will. Of course, this means more money and more time. Why not do-it-yourself?
Unfortunately, each state has its own rules and regulations as it pertains to documents like wills. Consider whether a handwritten or typed document is enforceable in your state, as some documents will not coincide with guidelines in certain areas. You may, at minimum, be required to have witnesses or have your document notarized.
Writing My Own Will & Having It Notarized
If the issue of establishing a will is the investment it requires, consider the alternative. If you have significant assets to protect, children, or business endeavors to consider, drafting your own estate planning documents may not be such a great idea. Further, there can be increased legal fees that heirs will need to pay if a document is not properly drafted or defined.
One of the most important aspects of a will is how it is signed and whether it is self-proving. Self-proving means that the will has an affidavit signed by a notary public stating that the will was properly signed and witnessed and that it is the will of the person who signed it. Each state has its own laws for how wills must be signed in order to be considered valid. If the will is not properly executed, it could be declared invalid by a court of law. In return, heirs may face challenges in getting the court to approve of declarations within a will.
Other Factors To Consider When Writing A Will
If you have minor children to consider, a do-it-yourself will is strongly discouraged for one major reason. Even if you opt to leave your children property and other assets, it’s not a straightforward hand-off. If you have a minor child, they can’t own property. Instead, you have to consider a person to appoint to take care of the inheritance for them, not to mention naming a legal guardian to care for them when you can no longer do so.
Additionally, using the correct legal jargon within a will is an important point to consider. In some cases, certain assets require probate while others do not. This should be properly outlined and communicated so that all needs are met within the will.
Further, it’s critical you don’t overlook the tax portion and implications of handing off assets. Most estates aren’t subject to an estate tax at the federal level, but some states have their own estate and inheritance taxes that are much different than federal provisions. You can take proper steps to mitigate taxes or eliminate them entirely for your children or loved ones. Consulting with experts in these matters might be important for your particular situation.
Creating Your Own Will Easily & Legally
Fortunately, there are other methods for easily establishing your will legally and legitimately without the increased expense of hiring an attorney. An online will through wills.com can give you peace of mind while still having all of the components needed to ensure that your wishes are met in the event of your death. Our online programs help to guide you through each step and ensure you don’t leave anything important out. It is also 100% legal and can help meet set requirements by your state.
For more information or to state the process of writing your will today, start with wills.com here.