From the Archives – Should You Use a Do-It-Yourself Will Kit?

The form kits for wills, living wills, etc. are very simple. If your situation is simple that may work (e.g. you are single, have no kids, don’t have a lot of assets, don’t have any special needs or disabilities, etc.) But if your situation is even slightly complex, it’s important to have a will or living will crafted to fit your situation.

Keep in mind that when you consult with a lawyer, what you are paying for is not the form used, but the personalized advice and counseling that goes along with it. I’ll give you an example of something a good lawyer might point out during an estate planning meeting:

If you have minor children or may have children any time soon, you should include a testamentary trust to hold any assets they inherit if you and your spouse both die. This avoids having to do a dependent probate (i.e. get approval from the Probate Court for each step in the probate process) which is time consuming and expensive. It also allows you to control things like:
Who serves as trustee for your children
How much is paid per month to the family who raises them
The age at which your children get free reign over all of their inheritance
The purposes for which the principal balance of their inheritance may be pulled out early (college tuition or medical needs, for example)
This is just one example and, as you can see, this sort of legal and estate planning advice goes beyond what you’d find in a do-it-yourself will kit.