View Full Version : Writing and probating a will
01-22-2004, 05:58 PM
Hi. My father told me I need to make out a will just to be safe. I know absolutely nothing about this. Do I have to see a lawyer first to get it probated or what? Is there any way to do this without seeing a lawyer? I would appreciate any tips about writing and probating a will. Thanks!
01-22-2004, 06:11 PM
DH and I met with a lawyer to do this.
Maybe some of the attorneys here will post opinions. Not sure how effective some of the software is...
I think self made wills are fine, depending on which state you are in.
01-22-2004, 06:17 PM
If your estate is straightforward and relatively simple, you may be able to do it on your own. You'll want to check the laws in your state/jurisdiction to see what is permitted/required and what isn't allowed (i.e. many states don't accept holographic, or handwritten, wills) - many require very specific language, a certain number of witnesses (and of a certain type), etc.
I would recommend talking to an attorney that specializes in wills/trusts/estates. And I'm not just saying that because I'm an attorney and am trying to garner business for my fellow colleagues. ;) If it's important to you that your specific wishes are carried out at your death, you will want to make sure that your will was drafted properly and met all the requirements of the law. I took a course on the subject in law school and obviously learned it well enough to pass the bar, but I wouldn't dream of trying to draft my own will (and my estate is simple - no children, no trusts, etc.). Which explains why I don't have one yet. :rolleyes:
Again, if it's pretty straightforward, it will likely only cost you a couple hundred dollars to have someone prepare the documents for you.
Edited to add: here are a couple of other threads that might have some relevant information for you as well.
First, you do not need to get a will probated unless it is someone else's -- you are still alive. Probating is the process of executing the directives of the will, transferring property, etc.
You don't have to have an attorney prepare a will, but it is generally advisable to do so if you have children, own real estate and/or have significant assets -- all for the reasons Eva set out (from another attorney who does not push lawyers when one is not needed, passed the bar, but wouldn't dream of preparing a will except as a stop gap measure). A basic will need not cost a lot, but yuo can avoid potential problems by having it prepared by a specialist. You can also get advise about whether there are other things you should consider, such as a living trust.
If you want to do your own, there are a number of computer programs available. I can't tell you which are better. I don't have a clue.
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