Q. I'm thinking of drafting my will myself. Will it be valid when the time comes, or do I have to hire a lawyer?
See also: Cost-effective wills.
A. You don't have to have a lawyer to create a basic will — you can prepare one yourself. It must meet your state's legal requirements and should be notarized. Look for how-to guides in libraries, bookstores and online. But be careful: For anything complex or unusual, like distributing a lot of money or cutting someone out, you'd do best to hire a lawyer. A do-it-yourself will that's poorly drafted can save you money but create a mess for your heirs when you're gone.