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My dad wants me to help him write a last will and testament.

Hemlock, MI |

Im not sure where to begin. What all needs to be included in it to make it legal and binding? We live in Michigan. Do we have to have a lawyer sign it, or just have 2 witnesses? Also i dont live be my dad so can i do it online with him over them phone and send it to him to have him sign it and the witnesses? If i do it online what it a good website that is legal/legit?
What all needs to be included? How detailed does it have to be?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. The standard terms, combined with the usual bequests etc, in the Michigan Will I began developing back in law school runs to 8 pages. I am doing three of them this weekend. The problem in doing a will badly is that you really do not know that it went badly until after death when you run into big problems in probate. Expensive problems. There are a lot of good attorneys up near Hemlock. Doing this with some junk you find on the Internet is as bad an idea as removing your own appendix with an Internet guide. Search on AVVO or in local ads. Many attorneys will make a house call for a Will if your fahter is unable to get out.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


  2. I agree with Attorney Poulson-your dad should let an attorney assist him.
    Also-if you have siblings and the will favors you-it could become invalid because of undue influence.
    Many attorneys offer free consults and do not charge much for wills.
    He should also discuss his other options such as a living trust, power of attorney and living will.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  3. Here's the problem, a will is simply instructions to probate court, that means that any will, however well-crafted, in order to "work" must be probated.
    Probate is not the godawful misery that most people think it is, it's not really all that bad and probate court IS the frendliest court in town.
    HOWEVER... in my humble opinon, no-one with any assets should do a will/probate-based estate plan (with one exception) because under a 2007 law that began to be enforced last year, if you received assistance with long term care (that mean Medicaid in the nursing home), the state is coming after you stuff IF and only IF you go through probate, so why the heck would you expose your stuff to estate recovery???

    This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first. Here's how you can hire me! #1 Call: 1-888-463-2843 #2 Email: david@davidcarrierlaw.com #3 See me on TV! www.woodtv.com - go to the Ask the Expert tab! #4 Listen to my radio show (2 full hours every week!) www.woodradio.com - go to the podcast section.


  4. What I can tell you is that I am an attorney and have been practising law now for nearly 27 years and I went to an Estate and Trusts expert to do my will. It is not an area in which I practice andit is complex and errors can create a mess far more expensive than the money you are looking to save doing it yourself. Online do it yourself services stink , and are there to make easy money for the webmasters. You can typically get a simple will , living trust and power of attorney and DNI for under $ 1000. Do not be penny wise and dollar foolish.


  5. Your intent is to not have the Will questioned following your father's death. Retain a lawyer who practices this area of law.

    No attorney/client relationship is formed between the attorney responding to this question and the individual asking the question.


  6. Preparing a will for a relative when you aren't a trusts and estates lawyer is a great way to cause all kinds of problems for yourself and your relative. To prepare an effective will, your dad needs to ascertain his assets and how they currently are owned and decide who he wants to receive the assets and whether the intended beneficiaries are old enough to get their shares when your father dies. He then should see a trusts and estates lawyer to prepare the will and likely an advance directive for health care and power of attorney as well. Preparing your own will is incredibly pennywise and pound foolish. Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (L.L.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law.

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