Writing a will is a crucial aspect of life that a lot of people tend to overlook. For some, thinking about when they won’t be with their loved ones is daunting. Others simply don’t know how to write one and imagine the process to be long and complicated.
For such people, looking for a lawyer to handle the matter may also seem like a lot of work.
But making a will doesn’t have to be that difficult. Once you figure out what a will is, what it entails, and what it requires to hold weight as a legal document, you can quickly draft your own will right from home.
If you’re planning on making a will and are wondering whether or not you should hire a lawyer, we hope the pointers we share in this article will help clear things up for you.
Let’s dive in!
What You Need to Know
There’s a lot that constitutes making a will. This critical document expresses how you wish all your property and belongings to be distributed when you pass away. You should therefore ensure you get everything right.
Think about everything you own, including homes, real estate, vehicles, shares, or even accrued funds in your bank accounts. These are the things you’ll include in your will.
Get the paperwork right for all these. If you hire an attorney to help you draft your will, they will ask you to get these affairs in order before you begin.
You will also need to list all your beneficiaries and what you’d like them to receive. This could be money, property, or even roles at the family business that you think they’d excel at. This is the time to get as specific as possible.
The Legalities of Making a Will
Many people consider hiring a lawyer because they don’t understand all the legal requirements for making a will. Let’s look at some of them.
For starters, a will must be written with testamentary intent for it to be considered legal. You must expressly state that the document is your last will you execute it. For example, a statement such as “This is the last will and testament of…” will suffice.
You must also have testamentary capacity when writing your will. This means that you should be conscious of the nature of writing a will and what the implications of that document are.
You should also be of sound mind and free from any undue influence and duress. A will written when you have no testamentary capacity is null and void and can easily be disputed in court.
Your will must be signed and dated. You will have to sign it in front of two adult witnesses, whose role is to confirm that you signed the document of your own volition and weren’t under any influence. A will executed in proper style with credible witnesses typically holds up in court.
Choose an Executor for Your Will
An executor is someone who reads your will and oversees its execution. They use funds from your estate to clear any debts you may have before ensuring the rest of the inheritance is distributed per your wishes.
The executor of your will needs to be someone you trust – someone ethical and responsible and who wouldn’t cave under the pressure of family members with an agenda.
If you don’t choose an executor for your will, the court may select one person from the interested parties. This means that role might go to someone far from competent, making the distribution process more chaotic than it ought to be.
Why Hire a Lawyer When You Can DIY?
Don’t get us wrong; working with a lawyer to write your will isn’t bad, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Since lawyers are familiar with what a legal will constitutes, they will help ensure your will is executed correctly, which leaves fewer grounds for contesting it in court. They also go through the things you list to ensure you aren’t making any mistakes.
That said, some jurisdictions consider wills written by a client’s attorney to be null and void since the lawyer may have obtained them through coercion and undue influence. Your family lawyer isn’t the best bet to help you write your will – even though they may act as witnesses or executors.
Luckily, there’s a solution for this. With the help of a reputable solicitor, you can now create a will online without necessarily involving a lawyer. And the best part? The process is easy and straightforward; all you need is to answer a set of questions as honestly as possible, review all the answers, and look at a preview of the final document.
You will then need to make a one-time payment, after which a solicitor thoroughly reviews your will and later sends the final document to you via email or post.
So, what are you waiting for? Write your own will today and have it ready within weeks.