Why should I Pay a Lawyer to Do My Will When I Can Do it Myself and Save Money?
If you don’t have a Will a laywer can prepare one for you. However, what if you want to save money and do it yourself? You surely can “do it yourself” but “save money”?? Here is a little cautionary tale to consider:
Former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Warren Burger, took a crack at preparing his own Will-he was, after all, an attorney!
First, he put no provisions in the Will allowing his executor to sell Burger’s real estate. So, the estate attorney had to file a petition with the court to ask for an Order permitting him to sell the real estate
(extra legal costs and fees).
Second, his Will was not properly executed so the estate attorney had to go looking for the persons who witnessed the Will, take their sworn testimony about what they remembered of the signing and then file the Affidavits with the Court (more legal fees and expense).
Third, because the Will was poorly drafted, his estate ended up unnecessarily paying more than $450,000 in state and federal estate taxes. That’s $450,000 that did not go to his beneficiaries!
If this could happen to the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, imagine what is likely to happen to a lay person who attempts this do-it-yourself project. In a worst case scenario, the Will turns out to be invalid due to defects from not being done properly and now it’s the same as having no Will at all.