My husband and I want to have a will but it seems attorneys are charging a lot of money for this service. Can you suggest any other avenues to create a will? I know there are online tools like legal zoom but it seems so confusing. -Kristen
If you have been following the recent news over federal tax policy at all, you will know that one of the most hotly-debated proposals was the reviving of the estate tax (which was non-existent in 2010). This debate underscores the importance of having proper estate planning to ensure that one’s assets be distributed according to their wishes at death.
One of the most critical aspects of estate planning is having a properly executed will. Whether you have a sizable estate built after years of hard work or are just getting started and want to make sure your young children are cared for, you need a will.
Now bear in mind that a will will not save you in the event the constantly-changing death tax comes back, but it will ensure that you, and not the State, dictate what happens to those you love and care about.
As you would expect, I recommend that you visit with an attorney in your state about your individual needs and desires. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and each state has their own requirements for creating a will.
For instance, some states allow you to write out a will by hand and have it notarized, others do not. Some require you need to have a two witnesses and a self-attestation clause, again others do not. This is why it is imperative that you seek professional advice from someone knowledgeable for your state’s laws on Wills and Estates.
One of the main reasons my wife and I seek to encourage people to get out of debt and get their financial lives in order is so that they can get in the position to personally grow, succeed, give and provide a solid foundation for generations to come. A will or proper estate plan is a cornerstone of that foundation.
Jesse Paine is a licensed attorney who owns his own law firm. He’s married to Crystal and is the numbers nerd of the MoneySavingMom.com team! If you have a question you’d like him to answer in a future column, you can submit it here.
The content of this column intended for informational use only and is not to be construed as providing legal, investing, accounting, or other professional advice. Your situation is factually specific and you should accordingly seek qualified professional counsel concerning your specific legal, investing or accounting needs.