Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will?
A will is a legal document that declares who will manage your estate after you pass away. Some states are relatively modest, while others consist of an abundance of assets. Regardless of the size of your estate, having a will in place can bring you peace of mind and ensure that your wishes are followed after your death.
Requirements for a Valid Will
According to Minnesota law, any person it was 18 years of age or older and is of sound mind can make a will. In Minnesota, the following rules apply to making a will:
- The will must be in writing.
- The will must be signed by you, by another person at your direction and in your presence, or by a conservator in place by the court over your estate.
- The will must be witnessed by at least two people, both of whom will also sign the will.
- You must intend for the document to operate as your last will and testament.
If a person wishes to make their will “self-proving,” they will need to have the will notarized. A self-proving will can speed up the probate process because the court will not need to contact the witnesses who signed the will.
Why People Create Their Own Wills
There are various reasons why a person may want to create a will by themselves without the assistance of an attorney. There are various website services available that use software to generate a document that you will then need to have witnessed. These documents can certainly become valid wills, but please understand that mistakes can be made during this process and that the websites that provide the service are not providing you with legal advice. They are not allowed to. Most people do not have experience or legal knowledge concerning wills, and this can create serious issues.
One of the main reasons that people decide to make their own wills is that they do not want to pay the legal fees necessary to have an attorney draft one for them. However, the service an attorney can provide when drafting a will for a person is relatively inexpensive, particularly when considering how much time and headache a will can save family members after their loved one passes away.
Advantages of Hiring a Lawyer
Anyone can draft their own will, but that does not mean it will be completed correctly. Each state has its own unique requirements about what makes a will valid. A skilled attorney is often recommended in these situations, particularly if a person has particularly complex estate issues or instructions they need to leave to the heirs of their estate.
An attorney will ensure the last will and testament complies with state laws. If a court finds that a document is partially or completely invalid, this can have devastating consequences on family members and the estate.
Contact a Mankato Estate Planning Attorney
If you or somebody you love are considering drafting a will, contact the team at Knutson+Casey for an initial consultation of your case. Our compassionate estate planning attorneys will patiently explain this process to you, and we will do our best to convey the importance of ensuring your last will and testament is properly crafted. You can contact us for a free consultation online, or call us at (507) 344-8888.