Get a lawyer to do it. If all you want is “here, have my stuff” it’ll probably take less than a half an hour and cost you less than $200. Can you do it yourself? Maybe, but the headaches that arise if you do it wrong are absolutely not worth it.
Theoretically almost any damn thing you write down is OK so long as it isn’t obviously insane, and someone presents it to the court with no contest from anyone.
Practically speaking, you must have the will registered with the appropriate office, presumably the Probate court, but who knows in any given state, or else your heirs will wait forever to get their allocations. It’s also important to have a proper executor.
So in other words, do consult a lawyer, or someone may be sad – probably not you, but maybe your heirs. Once your lawyer explains to you everything you need to know, and you have the basic document set up and registered properly, you can probably go on to update it or add codicils yourself.
The mortgage is certainly worth something, isn’t it? I mean, even if there’s no equity, it’s still title to the house.
But if you seriously don’t think your stuff is worth anything, then you can always do without. The default heirs (close relatives) will eventually get your stuff some long time (probably more than a year) after your death assuming their lawyers follow it up. I don’t have a will myself, being single, though on mature consideration I probably should, since I have some relatives who could use the money in my retirement fund.
You need to consult a lawyer. Make the one-time expenditure. Do not, I repeat do not, use pre-filled forms like you can buy at OfficeMax and do not attempt to do it yourself. Please Ty, save yourself and the entire universe from a steaming pile of bullshit when you pass away. The more customers I have with fucked up estates and trusts and wills, the more I am convinced that I should move uot of investments into estate planning and help these God-forsaken people.
Agreed. If you don’t care, just let your stuff pass through your state’s intestacy laws. If you do care, do it right. Especially wills, where any mistakes will only emerge after you can’t fix them. Legally, a bad will is the equivalent of no will, it can’t be given legal effect. Practically, a badly-done will is WORSE than no will, because it will lull you into a false sense of security and prevent you from ever fixing the problems.
It’s amazing how cheap folks (I’m not accusing the OP, clearly the act of seeking advice shows he’s not in this category) can get when they are making decisions that will affect how they or those they care about will live the rest of their lives. Open up the piggy bank.
Ask about pricing upfront, too. And don’t be afraid to shop around.
But you do need a will where there is property involved. You want to keep the state out of it as much as possible.
The big reason to get a lawyer is because this area of law varies a lot by state and while Nolo’s does produce some pretty decent and useful stuff, they can’t be sued for malpractice because they missed some new change of law in your state.
I know that Mr Howell wrote, in berry juice, a check for a million dollars on Ginger’s tummy. I can’t remember if she was able to get off the island and cash it, but I believe there is a precedent for the napkin scheme. I would go for it. You’ll save money doing it yourself and if you’re wrong, you’ll never know!
Our benefits include an optional group-legal, and one of the things included is estate planning. So we signed up for that for this year, got wills and such drawn up and all, and next year we’ll cancel it. I think it cost $150 for the year.
Trusts and estates law is full of traps for the unwary: you need a lawyer here.
Let me put it to you this way: I am a lawyer, but not a trusts and estates lawyer, and I’m going to a trusts and estates attorney for my will.
This just really, really isn’t a good place to wing it. All these people saying “almost anything written will do” are full of shit. Wills have very specific, rigid requirements in terms of witnesses, etc, that vary enormously by state. You’d be very foolish to go it alone.