Do You Need an Attorney to Plan Your Estate?

Do You Need an Attorney to Plan Your Estate?

Do You Need an Attorney to Plan Your Estate?

Most people know the importance of having a will. Even if you do not have many possessions to include in your estate, your will handles other legal matters other than just distributing your belongings. However, many people do not really know how the process of creating a will works. Do you need an attorney to do it? This guide will explain everything you need to know and answer this question. However, you should know that regardless of whether it is possible to create a will without an attorney, it is highly advisable that you have an estate planning attorney’s help in the matter.

How to Make a Will

For a will to be legal, there are only two requirements:

  • It must be signed by two witnesses
  • It must be signed and dated by the estate owner

As long as these two requirements are met, the will is most likely legal. Additionally, the witnesses must not be anyone who benefits from the will, and they must witness the estate owner signing the will.

It is important to realize that different states may have slight variations on these requirements. The laws and regulations may be different in your state, which means you should either research the laws in your state or speak with an estate planning attorney to learn more.

Finally, there are 27 states where it is possible to create what is called a holographic will. A holographic will does not need to be signed by two witnesses and is often handwritten. This may be a good option for anyone with a very small estate, although it is generally not otherwise recommended. The courts will scrutinize a holographic will extremely closely.

Do You Need an Attorney?

As you probably noted, having an attorney create a will is not one of the requirements listed above. A will can still be perfectly legal even without an attorney’s help. However, having an attorney will make it much easier to create a will. After all, an attorney will be able to help you find appropriate witnesses, write the will in a way that fulfills legal obligations, and guarantee the will is secure. An attorney can also help you organize your thoughts, desires, and possessions.  It is certainly not a requirement, but it is such an enormous help that you should carefully consider hiring an attorney who specializes in estate planning. If you are committed to creating your will alone, you should at least speak with an attorney to get some advice on how to start. This also applies to creating a living trust.

No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and law practices. Such materials are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. Information may not reflect current legal standards. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Do not rely on any statement on this website for any reason whatsoever. Furthermore, the information contained in this website is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice or representation. Your review or use of this web site, its information and links does not create an attorney-client relationship or an attorney-client privilege between this law firm and you. Statements made to this firm before the formation of an attorney-client relationship may not be privileged and confidential.


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