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How to make a will without a lawyer?

How to make a will without a lawyer?

By 

Jennifer Mcgee

·

Updated on  

November 22, 2022
·

5 mins

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Most of us already know what a will is and why we should make it. However, still, a majority of people don't have a last will and avoid the task. The reason is that we think of lawyers and fancy legal fees as necessary components for estate planning. Well, it's not true for making your last will and testament. Creating a will without paying a long legal bill can be pretty straightforward. Several new platforms and modern estate planning have allowed people to handle this task themselves and create an online last will and testament while sitting on their beds!

Keep reading if this sounds interesting and you've been thinking about making a will for the longest time.

Who can make a will without a lawyer? 

Anyone who wants a simple, straightforward, and standard last will can make it without a lawyer. You could make this DIY will if you:

  • Have a normal amount of assets and estate
  • Want to leave the estate to the beneficiaries that don't have an unusual relationship, or if your plans for distributing the assets aren't uncommon
  • Don't expect anyone to challenge your will after you pass away.

If you fit these criteria and don't have any exceptional needs, use an online platform to create your last will and testament. You won't need an attorney and can easily save all that legal fees.

Steps to make a will without a lawyer 

Follow these steps to create a DIY, affordable, and effective legal last will and testament:

  1. Choose an online service: You should first choose an online will-making platform. You could use several tools to create your online last will and testament. Most of them provide easy-to-use blank forms or will-making kits to help finish your DIY will easily. You could use our platform TrulyWill to complete your will without paying any legal fees for attorneys. So, decide which platform you would use to create your DIY will first.
  2. List and classify your assets: You should then proceed with listing all your assets for the will. It should include physical property like a house, cars, or other precious artifacts. The will should also mention financial assets like your bank account or investments. Ensure you clarify all the details about an asset while mentioning it in the will. For example, explain which artifact or family heirloom you're talking about by describing the look, color, or other details.
  3. Decide the beneficiaries: You should then mention who would inherit what from your estate. It would be beneficial to mention the beneficiary's full legal name rather than saying that it goes to my son, wife, brother, etc. Decide who gets what and mention it in the document. Ensure that you name a beneficiary for all your assets.
  4. Mention a guardian: You should mention a trusted adult as the guardian of your minor children in the will. It would help avoid any confusion among the family after you pass away. Ensure that you talk to the person first and that they would be up for the role. You can also mention who would take care of your pets after you're gone in the will.
  5. Decide your executor: Your executor would primarily be responsible for ensuring that your wishes in the last will are followed. They would manage and oversee the estate distribution and handle the process. Also, the executor would have to communicate with the beneficiaries and the interested parties regularly. That's why you must name a trusted person as your executor.
  6. Print and sign: Once you've filled in all the details, recheck everything. Ensure that nothing is missing ad you've entered all the correct information. After that, print the will and follow the state requirements for a will. You should read and decide how many witnesses you'd need and whether you have to notarize the will or not. Follow the rules to complete your legal will.
  7. Store the will: After following all the steps, you have your online will ready. The task left to do is to find a safe spot for storage. It would help ensure that you can easily access the will if required, and it doesn't face any damage. Ensure that you keep a physical hard copy of the will. Also, your beneficiaries or the interested party should be able to access the will when required. 

When should you hire a lawyer?

Making this online DIY will is an efficient solution to avoid hiring an attorney and save money. However, you might prefer to consult a lawyer if you have a unique and uncommon request or circumstances about your estate and will.

For example, if you have a vast estate or want to disinherit your family from the will, it might be better to take help. The experts could guide you better about what to do and how to make the will to fulfill your unique requirements. 

Pros and Cons of a DIY will

PROS

CONS

Save money: DIY wills are much more affordable than hiring attorneys 

Incorrect setup: Online wills may have an incorrect setup if the testator uses any incorrect language. The will could then be challenged.

Save time: The entire online will-making process is pretty fast and can save time

Lack of information: The testator may not know about their state requirements for signing the will. It can invalidate their will in the future.

Sufficient coverage: Most people would have sufficient coverage for their estate through an online will

Not for everyone: People with large estates or unique distribution requests cannot rely on DIY wills.

Updating the will: Online wills are pretty easy to update and won't cost a hefty fee every few years

Could cost more in the long run: If your will is invalidated, your heirs or the interested parties would have to go through the probate process and spend more time and money.

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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen to my estate if I had no immediate family?

If you create a will before you pass away, your estate will go to the beneficiaries you've mentioned. However, if you die without a will, it could go to your extended family or even the state if there are no relatives.

What would it cost me to make a will?

Depending on your location and estate, the cost varies between $500 to $1000 if you hire a lawyer. However, you can use the TrulyWill platform to create a legal and valid will at a fraction of this price.

Can my last will and testament be oral?

Only a few states consider an oral will legal only if it follows the rules. You would have to fulfill some criteria the state sets to be eligible to make an oral will. However, you shouldn't risk this to chance and create a solid, legal will on paper.

How should I store my will?

You should always store your last will and testament in a safe place, one which is accessible to your loved ones and doesn't pose any risk to the documents. It can be a safe locker or a safe in your home.

Does my will dispose of all my assets?

A will would only dispose of the assets mentioned in it. You could decide which assets go to whom. However, it's always better to mention all your assets.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Got Questions?

Hi, I’m Jennifer McGee.

Co-founder & Head of Legal at TrulyWill

Feel free to book a call with me to help you with your estate plan.

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