I have 3 children under 8. My husband and I have told people our wishes, but do not have a formal will. We don’t have lots of income to give to a lawyer to create one. Is there a way we can make a Will ourselves and fit it into our busy schedule?

Hi Leah,
First and foremost it is great that you and your husband are thinking about writing a Will and I understand your concern with the cost of using a Lawyer to create one. Unfortunately it is not in your family’s best interest to create one yourself for two reasons: Time & Your relative’s finances.

Creating a Will on your own is extremely time consuming. There are many laws to research and formats to follow. You can buy a “Will Kit” at an office supply store, but it won’t be tailored to all of your family’s needs or the local laws. By going through a lawyer, the Will is certain contain all of the necessary legal parts to ensure your family and belongings are taken care of exactly how you want.

In addition to your own time, creating a Will on your own will most likely cost your extended family or friends who you delegate in your Will money. Why? Because if you the Will doesn’t follow the correct format and rules, it will not stand up in court and they will have to hire lawyers annd spend time in court trying to fight for your wishes. Even more upsetting is that your Will may not even hold up in court at all.

I want you to know I am not trying to scare you and admire that you are wanting to get prepared for the unexpected. So here are some ideas for finding a reasonable lawyer:

Speak with your local county court to see if there are any non-profit agencies that can help you find a lawyer with little or no fees.

If you are close enough to a family member or friend, you can ask them to trade off help from them to pay for the legal fees in exchange for a service you can provide them. For example, if you or your husband is an amazing handyman, gardener or computer wiz , maybe he can help them put up that fence, install electrical wiring, plant their new landscaping, or fix their computer. If you can’t find a family member or friend to trade with, you can also check the “barter” section of www.craigslist.org.

Shop Around! Especially in this economy, even lawyers are struggling and any clients are valued clients. Get on Yelp.com, CitySearch.com, or just your yellow pages to compare rates of multiple lawyer pricing. You can also ask around with friends for referrals. They may have friends or family who are lawyers that can give you a discounted rate!

I hope this is helpful and I wish you all the best!