Family Health Legal Library


Do I Really Need One?

Most everyone knows that wills are legal documents that specify directions for the disposition of property after the death of the person who makes the will. Wills may also specify certain other instructions or wishes which can be followed by those people who are appointed to administer the estate of the person who dies.

What many people do not realize is how important and technical the requirements for making a will are, and then once a will is made, how important it is that changes to a will be made with even more adherence to strict requirements. Naturally, the laws regarding wills vary from state, and some states will require that wills be notarized while other states do not recognize a notary and instead, the will must be witnessed by two or more witnesses.

What is important when reading this section is to understand that not all of the requirements of wills for every state can be discussed here. It will give a general idea of the main concepts of wills and of the major points which should be considered when one decides to make a will.

By raising the concepts and getting the reader to understand what issues will be important when the will is made, or changed, and eventually probated, the reader will have a better understanding of how to think about certain issues regarding the division of their estate, their spouse's rights, the rights of their children and related issues. The purpose for drafting a will is to provide with certainty the way you decide your estate will be divided, not how someone else or the state thinks your estate ought to be divided.

It follows that the only way to make certain that your will is prepared properly is to have it drafted by an attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state, as well as general estate planning concepts and other estate disposition vehicles such as trusts. We cannot emphasize enough the concept of spending some money for attorney's fees now for security, which will almost certainly result in the savings of thousands of dollars in legal expenses later.

The concept is simple. Either spend a little money now on legal advice in drafting your will, or your estate and your heirs will be guaranteed to have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in legal fees if you do not have a will upon you death, or if your will has been changed or altered in a manner which makes it invalid.

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