"Do I really need an attorney to write my will?"
It’s a fair question - and I get it! Hiring an estate planning attorney can be outrageously expensive… if you hire one that uses outdated billing practices like hourly billing. Personally, my practice is based on value-based and flat-fee billing. This means that you get detailed, personal, and compassionate attention at a fair, flat fee. Some of my packages include unlimited will amendments/revisions (called codicils) for life. That’s a GREAT deal.
A lot of people have asked me if they “need” an attorney to draft their wills and other estate planning documents. MS law does not require your will to be prepared by a lawyer, but estate plans are complicated and require attention to detail. A single phrase or word can undo an otherwise valid document
There are online companies that provide cheap, quick, and basic legal documents. While these are inexpensive in the short-term, they may have wildly expensive legal ramifications if they are not comprehensive and follow all requirements set out in Mississippi common and statutory law.
I decided to check out various online "legal" websites to see what all the fuss is about. Here are a few takeaways that you should consider when weighing the cost of using an online service versus hiring a highly qualified, experienced, and licensed attorney.
#1: Online platforms don’t offer tailored legal advice
A few of the most popular sites offer an "attorney feedback" option to your estate planning bundle. There was only one site I found that even has an agreement with a MS attorney to provide counsel – and his main area of practice is not estate planning! When searching for an estate planning attorney, you should heavily consider if their primary practice area is estate planning – I am continually refining and researching how to make the most comprehensive and tailored documents for my clients.
#2: Not guaranteed to adhere to MS law
Mississippi statutory and common law governs the administration of intestate (dying without a will) and testate (dying with a will) estates. This area of law has many nuances and requires strict adherence, or you may risk future will contests.
#3: The only constant in life is CHANGE
After major life events (marriage, divorce, children, grandkids) you must update your plan accordingly. It may be challenging to understand the significance of failing to do so without the counsel of an estate planning attorney.
#4: Objective advice
My fancy law degree may not mean much, but it does mean that I am qualified to offer unbiased, research-based, and reliable insight and counsel about your estate planning needs and unique circumstances. Everyone's situation is wholly unique and deserves tailored attention. The online platforms offer only one-size-fits-all, fill-in-the-blank documents.
If you are interested in learning more about my process or have questions about estate planning in general, give me a call at (228) 297-1238 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, I am an attorney, but I’m not your attorney and this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am licensed to practice law in Mississippi and have based the information presented on US laws. This article is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information.