Writing your own will could be a very expensive mistake.

Penny wise, dollar foolish.

There are many websites that will tell you how easy and cheap it is to write your own will either with a standard form or some proprietary software.

If your estate is very simple and you are going to leave all your assets to just one person (perhaps your spouse) then this may possibly be a reasonable choice but as soon as there is any complexity involved it is rarely the best course of action.

Stories abound of wills being hung up in probate for years, of families split apart by arguments and disputes and of bequests going where they were not intended.

Even just a few hours of attorney time sorting out the mess created by a badly written will is going to make the initial savings pale into insignificance, not to mention the heartache and pain at a time when it is least needed.

Leave a solution not a problem.

Every state has different laws and rules that govern the disbursement of your estate when you die. It is possible that someone may have a claim upon your assets even if they are not named as a beneficiary and can dispute the will’s validity.

Having a will that is properly drafted and entirely legal will preempt many of these issues and claims and ensure a smooth distribution of your assets in the way that you intended.

Any will is better than none.

If you absolutely can’t afford an attorney then it is better to have a written starting point. This will at least give your executor and heirs a place to begin but be aware that unless you have a properly constructed legal document that is entirely valid in your state of residence it will likely cost your beneficiaries far more to sort out the issues than if you had paid the small fee for an attorney to prepare a valid will in the first place.

This will protect your loved ones from any shocks when the time comes. While you’re arranging a pre-paid plan, it’s also a good time to think about the details of the funeral that you want to have – whether you want a burial or a cremation, the music and readings you’d like and any theme that you’d prefer so that you can have complete confidence that everything will go according to plan.

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