Can I Write My Own Will or Should I Hire an Attorney?


Just the thought of preparing your last will and testament (also known simply as your “will” or your “estate plan”) is enough to put some people on edge. That reaction is completely understandable given the nature of the information contained in said documents. Being uncomfortable, however, is not reason enough to avoid doing something so important.

A question on this topic that many people ask themselves is, “Can I write my own will or do I need an attorney’s help?” The best answer to this question is that it depends on your specific situation.

Legally binding wills can be drafted without an attorney’s help by using estate planning software to walk you through the process. You may be able to go the DIY route, but only if you need a basic, simple will, you don’t have a lot of assets and you have a small, uncomplicated family.

Anything beyond the most basic wills are best handled by a qualified estate planning professional. Too many people have made seemingly small blunders on their estate planning paperwork, costing surviving family members a significant amount of money, stress and angst.

If you have young children (and/or a complicated family), own your own business (especially if you are a co-owner), have a significant amount of investments, assets, debts or if you think there’s a strong possibility that someone may contest your will, you’ll be better off working with an attorney to come up with the will that works for you and all of your unique life circumstances.

With your estate planning attorney, you’ll work in tandem to create not only a will but a number of other important documents like a living will and a health care directive. Having an experienced professional to guide you will ensure that you avoid making mistakes that would likely end up causing a gigantic amount of trouble for your loved ones after you’ve passed away.

It can be easy to put off setting up your estate planning paperwork because, after all, it doesn’t affect you directly. You must take into consideration the aftermath you’ll leave behind if you die without a will in New Jersey. Your family members will not have the proper time to adequately grieve your passing if they have to spend all of their time figuring out what to do with your assets.

Don’t leave a bunch of questions for your family and friends to puzzle over. If you haven’t done so yet, make a promise to yourself to write down your last wishes as soon as possible. Take that list with you to your NJ attorney meeting. After your estate plan has been completed, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders – even if you never realized the weight was there.

Image credit: Desi

2 Responses to Can I Write My Own Will or Should I Hire an Attorney?

  1. Pingback: How is a Spendthrift Trust Affected by Bankruptcy in NJ? | Veitengruber Law

  2. Pingback: Named Executor in a Will? Your Duties Explained | Veitengruber Law

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