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Can I Prepare My Own Will?
Laney Law Firm
"You can pull your own tooth. And you can prepare your own Will..."

(05/31/13 Laney Law Firm) - You can pull your own tooth. And you can prepare your own Will.

If you pull your own tooth, you will know in a few days if there are any complications or infections, etc; however, if you prepare your own Will, it will not be known until after your death if the document was valid and/or if it really disposed of your property as you intended. Many times there are unintended consequences that you will never know -- only your heirs will find out.

Legal fees are many times greater trying to undo a mess created by a do-it-yourself Will than it would have cost to have just had a lawyer prepare your Will while one was alive. In those cases, one is not saving any money by preparing their own Will -- just postponing spending more money. Just as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, incurring relatively small legal fees will assure that large legal fees, bond expense, or other expense are minimized if not eliminated later.

Most do-it-yourself Wills we have seen over the years, even if valid and even if it disposed of property as intended, do not have a key part that avoids a bond having to be posted when the Will is probated. The bond expense is much greater than the cost to prepare a Will that can avoid the cost of posting a bond.

Do you have minor children? If you have no Will and your property passes to your children as minors - a guardianship may have to be taken out for your children - about 10-15 times more cost than the preparation of a Will, and then, when the children turn 18, they get access to all the property in lump sum. And when they are 19, do they have anything left of their inheritance? Our experience is that the answer is that majority of the young heirs do not. Having a properly drawn Will can avoid this unintended consequence.

If you have a Will, does your Will need to be updated? When is the last time you reviewed it? You likely will be surprised as to what all has changed since you executed your Will, and what once did exactly what you wanted it to do, now would have unintended consequences if you pass before the Will is updated.

Can I have the Will that I prepared (or that a friend of mine drew up for me), reviewed by a lawyer to see if it is valid and does what I want it to do? Yes, of course you can; however, legal fees to just review (even without making any needed changes) would likely be more than the relatively small fee that is charged for having your lawyer prepare you a new valid Will to start with.

Even if you have a Will that was properly drawn and did what you wanted it to do when you executed it, the following are just a few questions you may need to ask yourself:

Most folks are surprised that the cost charged by most attorneys for preparing Wills is not a lot more than it is. In fact, our Will fees are less than half of what they would be if we charged our normal rates - because we want to encourage folks to not put off making a Will and to "git er dun." Will fees are "turn-key" and include the initial office conference, the actual preparation of the Will document itself, and the office conference to execute the Will.

The HaleCenterInsider.com is excited to present this column to our readers and proud to be working with Mark Laney & Troy Bollinger. You can learn more about them and review their respective credentials by clicking on their names.

*** Make Laney & Bollinger YOUR Lawyers ***
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Archived Contributions
1.  Introduction to Laney & Bollinger
2.  Can I Prepare My Own Will?
3.  What Can You Do When Stopped For Speeding
4.  Justice in Texas - 2013
5.  Really?... Left Lane For Passing Only?
6.  Watching Greed Grow...AFTER You Die.

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