Do you need help creating a will?

April 4, 2008

My wife and I are in our early 30s and don't have children or many valuable assets yet, but we know we should have wills anyway. Do we need to hire a lawyer?

My wife and I are in our early 30s and don't have children or many valuable assets yet, but we know we should have wills anyway. Do we need to hire a lawyer?

You don't need an attorney's help to craft a simple will that distributes a home, savings and investments, and other basic personal assets directly to your heirs. But you'd be wise to get help if either of you owns a medical practice (or other small business) and you're not sure what surviving owners may be entitled to or how to pass along your ownership share. Ask an estate planning attorney to review or rewrite your will if you have children and your estate grows to more than $2 million (the 2008 exemption amount). Under those circumstances, you might choose to set up trusts for the kids or to reduce estate taxes. Also get legal help if you're facing other potentially complicated issues, such as disinheriting relatives who might contest your will or making arrangements for a loved one's long-term care.