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5 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Make a Will Without an Attorney

Have you been putting off making a will because you think it’s too complicated and expensive to do it correctly?

Making a will is essential for providing for your family, protecting your assets in probate court, and providing for minor children. Still, you shouldn’t create one without proper legal advice.

Sadly, many people make the mistake of trying to make their own will without consulting an attorney—often with devastating results.

This article will discuss five reasons you shouldn’t make a will without an attorney.

1. State Laws Vary

Making a Last Will and Testament—or will for short—without the assistance of a lawyer can be risky. This is because each state has unique laws regarding wills and estate planning. Without expert knowledge of these laws, it can be difficult to ensure that your final wishes are properly documented in a legal will.

It may also be difficult to account for any changes in the law between the time you make your will and when it goes into effect after you die. A lawyer can help ensure that any updates or amendments are made to the will so that it remains valid under state law.

2. Risk of Invalidation

A will can be invalidated if it hasn’t been drawn up following your state’s rules and regulations. If you don’t have legal representation, you may not be aware of these laws, meaning your will could be rendered null and void—in which case the probate court determines what happens to your estate.

The best way to avoid this is by consulting an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process and create a valid will that aligns with state rules. This allows for peace of mind that your wishes are carried out exactly as intended when the time comes.

3. Unintended Consequences

When someone attempts to write their own will without understanding the legal implications, unintended consequences can occur. For example, if you don’t know what needs to be included in a will, don’t include all your assets, or unintentionally leave out important information, this could lead to complications for the executor or personal representative when distributing assets and personal property.

Also, if the language used is not clear or fails to meet state-specific requirements, this could lead to ambiguity and confusion over how assets are distributed, prolonging the probate process.

While there are some good online resources available to help people write their own wills, you should always seek independent legal advice before signing any documents.

4. Complex Assets and Tax Considerations

When it comes to making a will, there are certain complex assets and tax considerations that should not be overlooked. For example, complex assets, such as trusts and business interests, require special provisions to ensure they are treated correctly under the law.

If someone drafts their own will without legal advice, they may have difficulty understanding how these assets should be handled, leaving the estate in limbo after they pass away. Similarly, tax considerations can impact the distribution of assets, which can be difficult for someone who isn’t trained in estate planning to understand.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and seek out professional help when drafting any legally binding estate planning documents, such as a will.

5. Conflict Among Beneficiaries

Disputes between family members can be complicated to resolve. The legal language in a will can be interpreted differently by each person, often leading to disagreements.

It’s also possible for people to misinterpret the intentions of the deceased, and this, too, can create arguments among those who are left behind.

An estate attorney can help prevent such conflicts by clearly outlining the deceased’s wishes before they pass away. This way, if any questions arise after the will has been signed, there’s someone who knows exactly what was intended by each clause.

Don’t Go It Alone — Work With Cary Estate Planning Today.

It’s important to remember that making a will without a lawyer can have far-reaching consequences for everyone involved. A do-it-yourself will might save money in the short term, but it could result in costly litigation later on.

When it comes to your legacy, it pays to get professional advice so that everything is handled correctly from the start.

Making a will is essential in planning for the future and protecting your loved ones after you are gone. But the bottom line is this: when creating a will, don’t take any chances with DIY methods—hire an experienced attorney who knows how to properly draft a legally-valid document.

An estate planning attorney can provide guidance and assistance that ensures that everything is done correctly and that all laws specific to your situation are considered.
Contact Cary Estate Planning today to create your estate plan.

Author Bio

Paul Yokabitus

Paul Yokabitus is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cary Estate Planning, a Cary, NC, estate planning law firm. With years of experience in estate and elder law, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and other cases.

Paul received his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law and is a North Carolina Bar Association member. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Best Attorney in Cary” in 2016 and 2017 by Cary News and Rising Star in 2020-2023 by Super Lawyers.

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