Do you need a lawyer to make a will?

Making a will is not in and of itself difficult, although many people put off doing so for a number of reasons. Traditionally, people would always use a lawyer to make a will, also to make any alterations to it and often to execute it as well, once the person has passed away.

More recently, and with the growth of the internet, there are a number of businesses and government agencies that operate online that allow people to draw up and make their own wills, without the use of a lawyer.

Wills and estates

Making a will and winding up an estate can be quite a time-consuming process. There are strong arguments for having some professional input from a lawyer, for two particular reasons.

Firstly, most family lawyers have a lot of experience of drawing up wills and are able to easily navigate any particular areas that can generate problems. They know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Secondly, lawyers can often prove extremely beneficial in the event of any type of challenge to a will or winding up of an estate, which is unfortunately quite common.

Will disputes

There are often a significant number of disputes about wills and their validity. These sometimes stem from tensions within a family, especially if there had been a number of assumptions about how an estate was to be divided. In order for a will to be deemed valid, a number of specific criteria must be met.

It is probably worth clarifying that the term estate is an historical one. In times past, it has literally referred to what one might think of as an estate in terms of the landed gentry. In today's world, it can mean anything from a tiny inheritance through to many millions.

Many disputes are not simply about money. They may also be about special family heirlooms, a share in a business or company, how a trust is managed or even what may happen to someone's pet after the person has passed away.

There are a number of grounds for disputing a will, most of which are quite technical and would definitely need a lawyer to advise upon. Any dispute can quite often prove a traumatic experience for everyone involved, as well as an extremely lengthy one.

If someone has an estate and wants to make a will leaving it to a number of beneficiaries, it is certainly advisable to consider using a lawyer. Many offer a fairly cheap will making service and are normally very happy to advise on the best way to move forward after the person who has made a will has passed on.

For more information on wills and estates, contact a legal professional.