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Why a do-it-yourself will may not be a good idea

Drawing up a will is one of the most important steps to estate planning and preparing for the future. While the topic of planning for who gets what after death may not be the most pleasurable, it is nonetheless of great importance at any age. There is debate over whether an attorney is required for drawing up a will. Websites and do-it-yourself kits are readily available; however, Maryland readers should carefully consider what a will is designed to do before making the decision to go it alone.

The AARP offers basic information and advice regarding drawing up a will, but many people will still have questions that can only be answered in regard to their specific situation. A will is an individual's opportunity to legally protect property and assets after death and ensure that their wishes are known. When there is no will, an individual is considered intestate, which means that a stranger may be appointed by the court to divide up your assets, rather than a trusted friend or loved one.

Business owners and individuals with complex assets especially should carefully consider their decisions regarding drawing up a will. Self help guidelines may be beneficial as research and homework, but in the end, the considerations of the law, family members, taxes, etc. can be too much to tackle alone. It should also be noted that drawing up a will is important for younger individuals as well, especially those with children or who are unmarried partners.

Along with the pain of losing a loved one, families should not have the added burden of dividing property, determining guardianship, or handling businesses on their own. Maryland individuals who are entering the estate planning process may find that a will is a great place to start their journey. Careful consideration of friends and loved ones, assets, debt, and so on can greatly ease the strain associated with planning for the future.

Source: Philly.com, "Web Wealth: Will you will?," Reid Kanaley, July 22, 2012

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