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Writing a Will without a Lawyer: Is It a Good Idea?

Writing a will without a lawyer is possible, but the more complex it is, the more reason it should be done by a competent legal professional. The will is a legal instrument that sets forth your instructions about how to distribute your assets after you die. Anyone who reads your will should have a thorough understanding of what your intentions are as to funeral, burial or cremation, property and who will raise your children. While a will is one of the most important legal documents to have, it is possible to draft a simple one with the proper kit or the right forms at hand.


Any individual of legal age with the proper mental capacity may take on the task of drawing up a will. While it can be done without the aid of an attorney, it is usually a good idea to engage a legal professional to review the document for form and content. There are usually additional requirements that are dependent upon the jurisdiction in which it is written. Generally, as long as one follows the criterion of the state in which it is issued, it can be considered valid. Check with your state about legal requirements.

Pros and Cons

While there no legal requirements that state that a will has to be drawn up by legal counsel, there are certain pitfalls to be aware of. Home-made wills can fail if they do not reach state-mandated requirements. For example, the person who writes the will won't be available to explain it. Sometimes it is necessary to correct technical deficiencies or errors. Expressions can be misunderstood. One common fatal error is that a beneficiary like a close family member or spouse is used as a witness, which invalidates that person as someone entitled to inheritance.

Legal Services

Based on the above, it is best to engage an estate legal service when drafting a will. Try using a legal service like Legal Zoom, legal aid or get a referral from your state bar association.

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