A lot of people ask me what the difference is between hiring a law firm to do my will or just doing it myself, on my own or one of those services that will do it online for you.

Well the answer is actually very complicated, but the first reason I tell people is litigation. There’s no point in getting a will done if your family is going to fight about what it means. When you do the will yourself, without the legal training to understand the consequences of what you’re putting in the will, you’re really ripe for litigation. What I’ve seen of cases that get litigated, at the end, everyone is exhausted, and the estate has been completely depleted and no one gets anything.

And I would say that probably 90% of the litigation I have involves people who either drafted their own will or used one of those online services. And most of the litigation is in good faith, insofar as when you look at the document, you don’t know what it means.

I have wills that we’ve litigated for years, just to interpret what it means, and to this day, I am still not sure what the testator meant when they wrote provisions in the will. So, I think if you have a lawyer explain to you the consequences you’re going to probably save your heirs a lot of grief and a lot of questions, and possibly a lot of money.

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