Can you simply draw up your last will with the assistance of some type of do-it-yourself download or fill-in-the-blanks worksheet? The answer is that you can do it if you want to but the result may not be a very positive one.
This is not just the opinion of a particular estate planning attorney. Most people are well acquainted with the magazine Consumer Reports. Of course they have a website as well now that we are in the Internet age and they have a stellar reputation as an independent source of solid information that consumers can rely on before making purchases.
They heard about websites that offer do-it-yourself legal documents just as the rest of us have and they wanted to find out if the resources provided actually do make estate planning lawyers obsolete.
The independent researchers actually came to the opposite conclusion. They found that yes, it is better to use one of these services than to scratch out a Last Will in your own handwriting with no guidance whatsoever.
But, three different legal professors were asked to examine Last Will documents created using three of the most popular online products, and they found that they were all sorely lacking.
Ultimately, Consumer Reports takes the stand that these do-it-yourself notions are only potentially useful for someone who is planning the simplest possible estate, such as arranging for all of your assets to go to your spouse. And even then there are no guarantees that the estate will be optimally planned.