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Should I make my own will?

If you’re currently estate planning in California, you may be tempted to create your own will. While there are numerous resources allowing you to do just that, if the will you create is deemed invalid your estate might end up in probate. The Balance offers the following information on why you should consult with a legal professional when creating your estate plan.

Laws can vary quite a bit

Even if you’re knowledgeable of the federal laws governing will creation, chances are you don’t have a solid grasp of all pertinent state laws. This can be extremely damaging, especially when it comes to estate taxes. If you fail to cover all taxes appropriately you could be faced with harsh penalties, which deprives your family of the full value of your estate. A lawyer will have a firm understanding of all laws and will help you create a will that adheres to them.

Some estate plans are unique

Not everyone’s estate plan is cut and dry. For instance, if you own property out of state the process for leaving it to your family can be quite complex. In this case, a standard DIY will may fail to offer the guidance you need, which could lead to it being found invalid. That means your estate would end up in probate, where the court would have the final say.

There is no substitute for legal counsel

Even if you feel your estate plan is relatively straightforward, an attorney can still be helpful. DIY resources even say as much, as most include disclaimers stating that the information they provide is no substitute for legal guidance. While writing your own will may save you money initially, it can cost you and your family in the long run. 

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