I need to get a will set up – have a wife and toddler. I’m happy to use a free online will-maker (see below), but I’m worried about its validity. Has anyone used one before? Do we need to write two wills, one for each spouse?
Part of me wants to just shell out the dough for a lawyer for more peace of mind…
We’re in South Carolina for ref.
Fellow student and lawyer, Daniel Coughlin, gave me some helpful counsel:
Well, it’s helpful to have a lawyer put a will together. Biggest thing for you guys is probably designating a guardian for your child(ren). It’s also helpful to have financial and health care powers of attorney (those apply while you’re living, but in case you get in an accident). That way, if something happens to one of you (accident, disease, travel, etc) there’s no question who gets to make decisions on your behalf.
And I usually recommend having a living will (end of life decisions) made, because hospitals always ask if you have one or want to use their / the state’s default (which are usually bad).
The biggest thing about a will is getting it signed right, and I don’t know how the online systems handle that. I imagine you’re detail oriented enough to be able to follow their instructions regarding witnesses and notaries. So I think you could probably get by just fine with an online estate planning generator.
Something like this looks fairly reasonable, biggest deficiency is that it doesn’t provide self-attestation, which makes it easier to probate the will if you ever need to. That only makes life easier on your surviving family members if you would have to use a will. That’s a fairly low risk for healthy young people. If it was me, I’d probably do the free version
WillMaker Plus may be better at $139, but I can’t see their document. I see legal zoom charges $250 for their estate package, but again, no way to know how good the documents are.