Making a Will
March 18, 2013 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Hey, I'm 35 and want to make a will for peace of mind. Nothing much, just want to state how I'd like to be cared for and declare and executor. I've read that in NYC you don't even have to have a will notarized. I've also seen a few sites where you pay to make a will online like this one: Any tips on getting started? I don't have or know a lawyer. Should I just fork over the $40 and make a will online?
posted by gpoint to Law & Government (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If you want to have a will for the sake of peace of mind, it's best to have a will that will actually carry out your intentions. I would be uncomfortable using an online will. You can get a referral to an attorney that handles wills by calling the NYC bar association.
posted by helloimjohnnycash at 6:58 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

You really don't think you'll have any will-writing questions? I would save that money for your future lawyer. I'm sure that others will jump on board with some more specific suggestions.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:58 AM on March 18, 2013

If you're in a simple situation, I think that would be completely sufficient; more background.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:01 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are single or married with no children and limited assets ( particularly no property) go for it--however, as (if) your situation changes do not rely on a layman's will to cover those changes. If any of the following apply I would see an attorney--domestic partner that you want to make sure inherits some of your assets, children, unusual bequests, disinheriting usual inheritors, possibility of a rapid change in your financial status ( inheritance, lottery winnings, etc.). Would be a shame to inherit/win X hundreds of thousands and then die before you can redirect resources. Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 7:13 AM on March 18, 2013

For simple estates and simple wills, self-drafting is generally sufficient, although jurisdictions differ. It is better to go through the self-help resources at a local legal aid center or a courthouse help desk than through a national publisher's software or a generic (non-state and local) resource. If you do use local legal aid resources, please donate what you would have spent on the software to the agency.

Once you have drafted the will, be certain that you let someone know where you keep your copy. As noted above, when your circumstances change (marriage, property ownership, or something), you may want to consult with an attorney to make certain your new will properly voids the prior will. Most will writing legal services for average people are not expensive.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:22 AM on March 18, 2013

Financial counselor Dave Ramsey (religious message aside, he's got some good points), always suggests these folks for will making: US Legal Forms
posted by deezil at 7:24 AM on March 18, 2013

how I'd like to be cared for

A will won't do this - a will is only referenced after you're dead and probably after your body has been disposed of. A "living will" is often used to let people know your desires with regard to care when you're too senile or comatose to let them know what you want. Different document.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:35 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I strongly recommend NoLo Press's books for DIY legal stuff like this.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:36 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I used the NOLO site to make my will, then updated it neatly a couple years later, and am completely convinced and satisfied. Of course, I'm not dead yet, so who knows?
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:49 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

We did our wills a few years back, which included power-of-attorney for healthcare, advanced directices, and trusteeship for all the kiddos. Even so, the price to have it all drawn up was pretty reasonable. I'd have to believe that law practice nearby could quote a fee for a simple will with the added benefit of including any state-specific minutiae.
posted by jquinby at 8:12 AM on March 18, 2013

My workplace's employee assistance program was able to refer me to a lawyer to get a will and health care proxy done and they got me a discount on the service.

It was a huge relief not to worry about messing something important up by doing it myself online.
posted by cadge at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2013

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