Can you draft a will on your own? 

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Estate Planning

You may be considering making an estate plan. If so, your first step will probably be drafting a will. This is an estate planning document that lets you decide who should receive your assets upon your death. You can also set out who will look after your children should something unexpected happen to you.

In California, as long as you are 18 or over, you are allowed to draft a will on your own. Many people download templates online and go from there. 

Unfortunately, these DIY wills often don’t hold up to scrutiny. Here’s why drafting your own will may not be such a good idea. 

Lack of legal specificity 

Estate planning laws in California are very specific. Online templates tend to be quite generic, and they may miss out on key terms. Even a word or two out of place or a missing date could make your DIY will completely invalid legally speaking.

You also need to have two independent witnesses when drafting your will. They should not be beneficiaries. This step is often neglected when utilizing online will templates. 

Why seek guidance when drafting a will? 

DIY will templates can seem like a great idea at the time, and they appear to cut costs. However, the reality is that they could end up costing you and your family more in the long run. If you have legal guidance on your side when carrying out estate planning activities, this can help you avoid needless errors. 

A will, trusts and powers of attorney are just some of the documents you can use in your estate plan. By seeking as much information as possible from reliable sources, you can ensure that your final wishes are honored.   

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