Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?

Newlyweds, new parents, homeowners, and even people without significant assets should write a will. What you own is yours and should go the loved ones or charities of your choice. Spelling out and recording your final wishes don’t have to involve expensive visits to a lawyer. You can create a legally binding last will and testament online. The process is simple, you will be asked questions in order to inventory your assets and specify your beneficiaries.

You can choose alternate beneficiaries, in case your first choice doesn’t survive you. Spouses that have jointly owned assets will have these assets automatically become the property of the surviving co-owner beneficiaries and are generally not under the jurisdiction of a will. Retirement accounts and life insurance with specified beneficiaries are also outside the purview of a will. Most spouses typically must make separate wills to specify the disposition of individually owned assets.

Even workers living paycheck to paycheck should consider making a will, especially if they have young children. You can specify an adult guardian for children under age 18.

Any adult of sound mind is entitled to make a last will and testament. All it requires is that you date and sign the will and record signatures by at least two witnesses who must watch you sign the will, though they don’t need to read it. In most states, the witnesses must be people who won’t inherit anything under the will.

You don’t need to have your will notarized. You do not have to record or file your will with any government agency, although it can be recorded or filed in a few states. Simply keep your will in a safe, accessible place and be sure that your executor (the person you choose to wind up your affairs) knows where it is.

There is no requirement that a lawyer write a will, and most people do not need a lawyer’s help to make a basic will — one that leaves a home, investments, and personal items to your loved ones and names a guardian to take care of young children.  If you have questions or there are complexities in your estate, you may prefer to get legal counsel by hiring a good lawyer.

Source: 1-2-Law: www.12law.com

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