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What are the disadvantages of writing my own will?

There is no doubt that in these modern times California residents are interested in "do-it-yourself" solutions. Legal issues are no exception with many people wondering if they need a lawyer at all when creating an estate plan. While it is true that you can accomplish many of the tasks associated with estate planning on your own, your first question should be, "is it a good idea to do so without legal advice?"

Everyone has different needs and different assets to consider but the do-it-yourself option for drafting a will does come with a few downsides regardless of the size or scope of your estate. The first thing you should understand is that working with an attorney is not just a way to save you from the hassle of creating your own will; rather, it is to protect you, your estate and your heirs.

With that said, here are some of the most common disadvantages of writing your own will.

An unbalanced perspective: Many people become mired down in the financial side of the issue and lose sight of the human side. This could mean your heirs are not well-provided for overall.

Poor understanding of California wills laws: For the layperson, it is often difficult to grasp the laws that govern a last will. A lawyer based in California knows these laws and stays up-to-date about any changes.

Poor understanding of inheritance and estate tax issues: Unexpected tax issues can significantly impact your estate after you die. A lawyer can help you plan ahead to avoid tax problems.

Unforeseen mistakes: If you make any errors when writing your will, it is likely you will not even know they exist. An attorney can help you avoid mistakes, resulting in a solid legal document.

Source: PlanBeyond, "How To Write A Will…And Should You Write Your Own," Maria Angel, accessed April 29, 2016

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