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Do I Need an Attorney In Order to Create a Will?

Strictly speaking, in the eyes of the law, it is not necessary for an individual to hire an attorney for matters of wills and trusts.

For one thing, there are more options and resources out there than ever before, promising to help individuals tackle these matters “DIY,” including YouTube videos, personal legal software, articles like this one, and so on.

So, to succinctly answer the question we posed in our headline: no, you do not need to bring on an attorney in order to write a legally binding will or set up a trust.

But what if we reframe the question. Not must you bring on an attorney to assist with your will – but should you? That’s a very different question, with a very different answer.

For instance, what if we swapped a few of those words? Sure, you could perform surgery on your own mouth… but should you?

While that example may seem a bit extreme, it’s actually not that far off the mark. Ensuring that your will and testament is up to scratch is a huge step in making sure that your family and friends are provided for down the line, and that your last wishes are carried out as you would have liked. One mistake could prove costly and time-consuming, putting even more pressure on your family in a time that will already be stressful and difficult.

With all that in mind, here are five more reasons while you’ll want to consult with an attorney when it comes to your will…

1.) A Will Is Part of a Larger Estate Plan

A will is one thing – and it’s an important thing. But it’s only one piece of a comprehensive estate plan, which will help you and your family prepare for the event of your death or disability.

A thorough estate plan won’t just deal with writing a last will and testament, but all sorts of important matters, including establishing a trust (or trusts), setting up a living will, and handling powers of attorney for healthcare and property, among other critical action items.

2.) Everyone’s Circumstances Will Be Different

Many of the templates and programs out there designed to assist individuals with writing wills adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach. And while this will work for many people, the reality is that these cookie cutter solutions often won’t be able to accomplish everything you need (as this piece from Consumer Reports points out).

After all, how can any piece of software be expected to keep up with the intricacies of real life? Our lives are complex and multi-faceted, and are, more often than not, tough to squeeze into a simple template. Maybe you’ve been in multiple marriages, or own a business, or take care of a family member with special needs… All of these are important considerations that an attorney will be able to help you get a better handle on, by looking out for the details and providing you individualized care and attention at every step of the way.

3.) It’s More Complex Than You Might Think

As mentioned earlier, one mistake or oversight when it comes to your will (or another aspect of your comprehensive estate plan) could make all the difference between an effortless process for your family and friends… or a costly and messy one.

By working with an attorney, you’ll be consulting with an experienced, objective partner who has already “learned the rules” of the game, so to speak.

Your qualified attorney will understand all state and federal laws and regulations as they pertain to your distinct circumstances, and will be able to help you understand how these intricate, ever-changing rules apply to you. Even better, your experienced attorney will know to expect the unexpected and always be on the lookout for ways to address your concerns in the most effective way possible.

4.) You’ll Likely Save Money in the Long Run

Knowing that you’ve crossed all of your t’s and dotted all of your i’s may help with your peace of mind in the long-term – and could result in you cutting costs, as well.

Without a solid estate plan in place, your estate could ultimately end up paying more in professional fees, court costs, and taxes, which could have otherwise been avoided. What’s more, an experienced and thorough attorney will always be on the lookout for ways to secure you and the financial benefits connected to your unique circumstances.

5.) You’ll Have Ongoing Support

Once you’ve drawn up a will as part of an estate plan, you’re all set, right? Not so fast.

For one thing, it’s important to remember that your estate plan is a living, breathing organism, one that will need to be updated as time goes on and your personal circumstances change. When you have an attorney on your team, you’ll be able to adjust or update your estate plan regularly, in as streamlined a way as possible.

For another, it’s important to remember that these documents and plans aren’t just speculative; they will need to be administered and implemented at some point down the line. When that day comes, it will help provide your friends and family with peace of mind, knowing that your documents have been approved by a legal professional, and that they already have an established resource they can turn to when they have any questions or concerns about your estate or the probate process.

Have any questions about wills, trusts, and estate planning in Illinois? Chicago Probate Law is here to serve you. To learn more about what we offer or set up an initial consultation, don’t hesitate to drop us a line today!

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