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Is it a good idea to write your own will?

If you're currently estate planning in Michigan, you may have considered writing your own will. While there is a wide range of resources out there that allow you to do just that, you may want to think twice before setting out on your own. The Balance explains a few of the drawbacks associated with creating your own will.

Maybe you consider your situation to be fairly simple. While DIY wills can accommodate basic estates, chances are your estate is more complex than you think. For instance, if you own real estate outside of the state in which you currently live, you'll need to take additional steps to include it within your will. There are other considerations to be made, such as what to do with financial accounts, how to arrange guardianship for a minor, and paying creditors. A DIY will could be unhelpful in these areas.

Also, take a moment to think about the preponderance of state laws. Even if you have a solid understanding of how wills work you probably lack knowledge regarding the laws in your specific area. Noncompliance means your will may be found invalid, which could result in it being subject to probate court. Probate is costly, as well as time-consuming, which can harm your family.

Lastly, there is no substitute for legal guidance. Not only can an estate planning attorney help you avoid any mistakes, he or she can offer insight on how to get the most out of your will and other documents. Perhaps you would be better served by a trust, which can help you avoid probate. Estate planning on your own will deprive you of this valuable knowledge. 

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