When you are considering the question of whether or not it is advisable to draw up your own will, it is wise to draw some lines. There are some activities that can be engaged in at every level, from beginning to intermediate to advanced and everything in between. You start out at a very rudimentary level and build on the things that you learn, and people often learn best through initial failure. This is as it should be; incremental improvement through trial and error is part of the learning process.
There are some things, however, that cannot be safely engaged in at the beginner level. You don’t learn to perform a root canal by sitting your daughter in a chair down in the basement armed with some Internet instructions and a Black and Decker hand drill. The same is true of legal matters.
Your will serves a very important purpose, and it can involve significant assets. There are myriad details to attend to, and remember, the will is going to have to pass through probate. The probate or surrogate court will examine the will in an effort to attest to its validity. Exact wording and contingency planning is key. Plus, each state has different probate laws, so pre-packaged, “one size fits all” kits or software programs can’t possibly provide you with a turn-key shortcut that renders the legal profession obsolete.
Probate lawyers are specialists, and they understand how the system works in the area that is local to them. You wouldn’t put your finances or taxes in the hands of an amateur, and you wouldn’t represent yourself if you were involved in a serious legal matter. Drawing up a will is not a “learn as you go” exercise, and it is something that should logically be undertaken by an experienced legal professional.
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