How do I know if I need an attorney?
While you are not required to have an attorney to draft a will, there are circumstances where doing it yourself, or using a template may lead to problems.
Top 5 Reasons to talk with an attorney
If any of the following circumstances are true about you, the America Bar Association advises consulting one:
- Complications with previous marriages, divorce or blended families.
- You, your spouse, or children have international citizenship.
- You own or have an interest in property in another state.
- Your assets exceed a certain amount (a few million usually, but changes each year).
- You or your spouse are getting (re)married and could have complications with trusts, property ownership, or guardianship for your minor children.
To find an estate attorney in your neck of the woods, select your state from the list below and we will share our GYST list with you. These attorneys have been selected based on their years of experience, recognition within their field and with a high ranking from consumers.
Common mistakes to watch out for
- Not doing one at all. (Congrats, you’re already here!)
- Not completing the process.
- Doing one incorrectly, which can result in the will not being legally binding.
- Leaving stuff out. People often forget about pets, businesses, or how to split assets among children.
- How and when assets and money are given. Some financial planners recommend spacing out payments instead of lump sums.
- Not updating your will when you have kids, remarry, acquire new assets, or make other life changes.
Should I talk to a lawyer?
Maybe. If you have a large estate, or any complications (international citizenship? child with special needs?) - you might need to. But certainly, if you have any questions or concerns, make sure you are covered and get professional advice.
Check out GYST's Attorney Directory to find a lawyer in your state.