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Drafting Your Own Will

You don't have to be a lawyer, just have it notarized

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?

Be careful when drafting a will by yourself.

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Do-it-yourself wills can save you money, but create a mess for your heirs when you’re gone.

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.