If you have already created your Last Will and Testament, you may be wondering how to file your will with a lawyer. What most people don’t realize is that they don’t need a lawyer to create a legally binding will or to file your will.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Write Your Will?
The answer to this question is, in fact, “No, you do not.” Many individuals do not realize that they possess the power to create their will at any time, with or without the help of a lawyer. In fact, common excuses for not drafting a will include the following.
- “I don’t have a good lawyer.”
- “I haven’t taken the proper preliminary steps to create my will.”
- “I don’t have time to take my will to get notarized.”
- “I don’t know how to make a will.”
Fortunately, the lack of a quality lawyer does not prevent you from legally writing out your final wishes. If you aren’t sure what exactly goes into a will, several websites offer will kits or templates. These kits provide a great place to start.
Why You Might Want to File Your Will With a Lawyer
If you don’t know how to make a will and aren’t comfortable with the online kits, that’s okay too. There are plenty of benefits to enlisting the help of a lawyer to create your will. In fact, a good lawyer is a valuable resource in organizing all end-of-life documents. What are the benefits of running your will through a lawyer?
1. Valid Will-Writing Advice
It is easy to get confused by your financial records, documents, beneficiaries, etc. Before you begin drafting your will, it can be helpful to lay everything out with the assistance of a lawyer. This ensures that you don’t miss any key information necessary for fulfilling your final wishes.
2. Ability to Evaluate Will for Weaknesses
Because of the nature of their work, lawyers have an eye for loopholes and weaknesses. Consequently, if you file a will with your lawyer’s help, you can ensure that your wishes will be carried out to the letter, with no danger of the court interfering.
3. Affirmation of the Document’s Legality
As already mentioned, most states don’t require anything but three signatures to make a will legal. However, having your lawyer sign as a witness provides added assurance of the document’s legitimacy and leaves little room for later questioning.
4. Assurance of Consistency Between All Documents
If you have a life insurance policy or trust with designated beneficiaries, those documents must be consistent with your will. Your lawyer can help you evaluate each document and make sure everything is in line.
5. Location Storage
Of course, storing your physical will in a safe location keeps it safe and accessible. However, you also need to store the location of your will so that your lawyer and loved ones can find it later. On-line will registries are essential to secure your family can locate your will when needed. The registries don’t have a copy of your will, they only document the attorney or location of your will.
Who Needs to Be Present for Signing?
Although a will does not need to notarized to be legal, it does require several signatures. The first necessary signature is, of course, the testator (you). Your name on the dotted line testifies that the will indicates your final wishes, end of the story. That is why it is so important that you take the time to ensure that the will “does” indicate your final wishes.
Additionally, most states require two witnesses to observe the testator’s signing of the will and sign the will themselves as proof. Once these three signatures have been obtained, your will becomes legal. However, remember that tucking your legal will away does absolutely no good if no one can find it later. At this point, it is probably a good idea to run the will by your lawyer. Then, you should store the physical will somewhere safe and the location of your will in a database so your family can find it later.
How Can the U.S. Will Registry Help?
The U.S. Will Registry was founded in 1997 to fill an important gap. Too often people think loved ones will remember who you told them your attorney is, or where you stored your will in your home. Unfortunately that is not the case. Studies show that 67% of wills are never found when needed. Seniors often move to new facilities, re-write their will (With a new attorney) and move their paperwork. That is why it is essential to register the location of your will in an online registry. The location of your registered will or other end-of-life documents is stored in a database for later access. The U.S. Will Registry provides families and beneficiaries with a means to find lost wills and estate planning documents of those who have passed away. You can register the location of your Will or other documents for a nominal lifetime fee, making it easier for family members to handle your affairs.