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Who Should Write My Will?

Before the advent of the Internet, there was no question as to who you should have draft your will. Then, as now, you were limited to two choices: your attorney or yourself. Most people would choose an attorney, due to their own lack of knowledge about the requirements for a valid will. Today, however, we are much smarter. Well, at least the Internet makes us think we are.

Today a quick Google search will provide at least seven websites that assure you that you can save the attorney's fees by doing this yourself. There are free sites, pay sites, and sites that will help you draft a will in England or Australia if you need to. Most of them provide simple step-by-step instructions. Making a will is as easy as filling in the blanks. After all, that is what attorneys do, right?

Not quite. The problem is with our wonderful federal system of 50 states that make up one country. While we are all Americans, there is no uniform American law on what is required for a valid will. The federal government seems to have more important things to worry about. So the laws regarding what it takes to make a valid will are left to the states. That leaves us with 50 different places making 50 different laws on what should be a relatively simple topic: what you need for a valid will.

If the will-drafting kit you use is not specific to your state, you could wind up leaving out some important clause that no one outside of, say Wyoming, would ever think of. Well, one little missing clause should not be much of a problem, right? Wrong. That one missing sentence could result in an invalid will. What is so bad about an invalid will? It will not be enforced by the probate courts. It is like you never drafted a will at all, and all your well-thought-out plans as to who gets the silverware go out the window.

If you use a will-drafting kit, make sure that it specifically applies to your state and its laws. You will save your heirs a lot of headaches. Better yet, give your attorney a call. He or she can draft a valid will for you at a cost that will not break the bank.