When You Can and Can't Write Your Own Will

Physician's Money Digest, April 2007, Volume 14, Issue 4

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It's tempting to write your own willinstead of hiring a lawyer using online do-it-yourself sites and available software—and in many cases you can. A recentmagazine article describes somesituations in which a do-it-yourself workswell. For example, if you have children, awill—any will—is necessary. If both youand your spouse die unexpectedly, statelaw will decide who raises your children,not you, so you must have a will thatnames their guardians. And, if you haveless than $2 million in assets with a clearcutinheritance line, you'll most likely leaveeverything to your spouse and children.An online site such as BuildaWill.com ora software program like Quicken'scan create a basic willsuitable for these situations. If, however,you are a physician who owns a privatepractice, there is always the possibility ofsomeone challenging your will—or placingconditions on when your children orfamily can inherit the money. It is importantto consult a lawyer when there is abusiness involved. estimates thecost of consulting a lawyer is between$500 and $1000, with extra charges if youalso need a trust.