Will Kits and Forms

Personal Finance September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

A will is not a good do-it-yourself project. The cost of working around a minor mistake in a will can far exceed the cost of having a will properly prepared by an attorney.

Nevertheless, will kits and forms are widely available on the Internet, in bookstores, office supply stores, and other places. People can be attracted to these products by their apparent simplicity and low cost, but it’s important to use them with caution. Always have an attorney review any will that you prepare yourself.

Some disadvantages of generic will kits and forms:

  • Some situations are more complicated and may require an attorney's expertise.
  • Materials are often condensed and simplified, leaving out details for unusual situations.
  • Materials are written to cover laws for an entire nation but cannot cover every jurisdiction.
  • Laws are constantly being revised and may require a different form of information
  • The legal requirements for a valid will can be arcane and very difficult to follow. One minor deviation from what your state requires can invalidate the entire will.

To understand the importance of getting legal help in writing a will, see Prepare Your Estate Plan Case Study 3: The Disadvantages of Writing Your Own Will.






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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.