do i need a lawyer for a will

Drafting a Will: Things You Should Consider

Just 1 in 5 millennials have a will.

Even some famous people, like Aretha Franklin, passed away without a will. Your estate may not be worth the $80 million that the Queen of Soul’s was. But that is no excuse, if you own any property or have any money to your name, you can get started drafting a will.

So now that that is settled, you may be asking, do I need a lawyer for a will? Many people will tell you that if don’t have a large or complicated estate then you don’t need a lawyer.

This advice isn’t totally correct, here’s when you need a lawyer to help you write a will.

You Need an Estate Plan

Most people assume you need a will to distribute your assets when you pass away. What you really need is an estate plan. What’s the difference?

An estate plan is an entire set of legal documents that take care of everything in preparation for your death or disability. A will is just one of these documents in the plan.

Without an attorney, you’ll miss other important documents that will make your loved one’s lives easier. This could include items like a healthcare power of attorney, or financial power of attorney, or disposition of final remains.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

To build on our last point, you don’t know what you are missing when you don’t know your options. This is bigger than creating an estate plan.

For example, each state creates their own laws for inheritance and probate. First, you’ll need to make sure that you follow all of the laws for your state. Then you need to look into the laws of all states where you have assets.

If you don’t follow the law to the letter, your will could end up unenforceable. If this happens your estate will follow intestacy laws, which may or may not align with your wishes.

There Are Unknown Complicating Factors

There are certain circumstances in life that will complicate things. The more complicated your life, the more complicated your estate plan, the more you need a lawyer to guide you.

Multiple Marriages

Have you married multiple times? If so, you’ll need to address this and if there are any previous agreements with your ex-spouses.

Own a Business

If you own a business then you need to discuss with a lawyer what happens to that. You need to create a plan for what happens and address any possible claims your family could have on the business.

Caring for Family

If you currently care for an incapacitated or disabled family member, then creating a will may not be enough. You’ll want to ensure their care continues beyond your passing. A lawyer can advise you on a better way to do this such as a trust.

Minor Children

If you have minor children, you’ll need to create a section of the will that outlines their care. We know this is a tough thing to think about, but if something happens, who will care for your children?

How will you ensure the money you leave for them will go towards their care?

Save Money

So you’re tempted to do a will yourself because you think hiring a lawyer is too expensive? But this is only looking at the short term.

What a lawyer can tell you is how your decisions now will cost you in the future. If you don’t prepare your will correctly, you could end up costing your heirs expensive fees in estate taxes.

Federal Estate Tax

The federal estate tax seems like a high threshold at $5.49 million. But 2 in every 1,000 have to face paying it. It ends up being about 1/6th of their total estate.

The good news is that there are loopholes to avoid this tax. An attorney can help you navigate these loopholes.

State Estate and Inheritance Taxes

You will need to talk with a lawyer if your state has an estate or inheritance tax. Did you know there is a difference between these two types of taxes?

Six states impose an inheritance tax. This is a tax imposed on the person inheriting.

While fifteen states impose an estate tax. This is a tax imposed on the estate no matter who the intended heir is.

Ongoing Support

The law is a changing and evolving thing. So if you prepare your will in accordance with the law today, it may not comply with the law in effect when you pass away.

Changing Laws

When you work with a skilled and knowledgeable firm they can give you ongoing support. They can also check your documents for any errors that might render your will invalid.

Changing Life Circumstances

You can also reach out and consult with them as your life changes. Let’s say you get married, or have children, or buy a home. These are all life events that will be a trigger to update your will.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will? The Answer Is Yes.

Hopefully, you should no longer be asking, “do I need a lawyer for a will?” The answer is yes, you do. Sure, you can try to use those online premade forms and templates.

But then you run the risk of not having your estate distributed the way you intend and wish. You risk having your will deemed invalid.

You risk your heirs paying heavy estate taxes. You risk missing out on completing important documents.

So let’s help you prepare your will by taking the first step, finding a knowledgeable and skilled estate attorney. Look for a lawyer to help you write your will today.

domestic violence and divorce

What You Need to Know About How Domestic Violence Could Influence Your Divorce Case

Did you know that more than 10 million women and men are physically abused by an intimate partner annually? Divorces with domestic violence more common than you think.

It’s no wonder so many people eventually have to find a lawyer to help them in their situation.

Divorces are one of those things that can often turn very messy.

Keep reading to learn what you need to know about domestic violence and divorce.

What to Know About Domestic Violence and Divorce

Going through a divorce is a stressful and complicated process. When you add domestic violence and divorce to the mix it gets even more complicated. If you are a victim of domestic violence you should immediately find an experienced top family lawyer to determine the best legal actions to protect you and your family.

Federal and state statutes have been put in place to discourage and punish acts of domestic violence. In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act. States have put in place Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.

Get Help

Domestic violence is a situation that can happen to anyone. First, protect yourself to be safe from further harm. If you’re under domestic violence threat call the police or get out of the house.

At this point don’t worry about how this will impact your divorce get yourself in a safe environment. Once you are in a place where you don’t feel threatened consult with a divorce attorney about the legal consequences of moving out, separation, and getting protective restraining orders.

Restraining Orders

Every state has its own legal rights and options to protect themselves against their abuser. A knowledgable attorney will help the abused victim get a restraining or protective order to provide them with legal protection. Depending on the state a restraining order can force the court to order the abuser to vacate the home and stay somewhere else.

If the abuser were to violate this court order they will have serious consequences. This can include arrest and trouble un future child custody hearings.

Alimony and Domestic Violence

Depending on the state domestic violence can be a factor the court considers when determining alimony payments. Some states consider violence as instances of marital misconduct. This might cause the court to adjust an alimony award during a divorce.

Child Custody Rights and Domestic Violence

The first step before finalizing a divorce or even starting a divorce process seek an emergency protective domestic violence restraining order. Then ask the judge for temporary custody and only supervised visitation rights. You want to keep your child or children safe.

Once the child custody cased is opened the judge will review the case and make a decision. Some states will not grant sole or shared child custody to a parent that is found guilty of domestic violence.

In some states, the courts can consider abuse against any of the following related to the other parent not just abuse against the other parent:

  • Child’s grandparent
  • Roommate

Splitting up Assets During a Divorce with Domestic Violence

When it comes to divorce and splitting up assets domestic violence plays a major role. The following covers different ways that domestic violence affects assets.

Domestic Violence as Economic Misconduct

Some states don’t allow the courts to consider marital fault when it comes to domestic violence. Instead, they permit the consideration of economic fault. For domestic violence to be considered in the splitting of assets the court has to find evidence of the economic impact the abuse caused.

Evidence that is allowed to be presented in court to prove economic misconduct includes:

  • Loss of a job because of calling out due to injury
  • An illness that resulted from domestic violence
  • Victim having to move to avoid violence
  • Higher health care costs

Domestic Violence as a Casual Factor

In some states, domestic violence has an impact on splitting up assets. If the state considers fault to domestic violence to be a factor in divorce proceedings then it will have a significant impact on the outcome.

In some jurisdictions, domestic violence is specifically addressed and weighed in the process of property division and assets division. Some courts will assume the abuse was the causal factor in the divorce and marital breakdown.

Domestic Violence Limited to Egregious

Some states only view domestic violence as being relevant when splitting assets if the abuse was egregious. This means the abused will have to establish that the abuse was in fact egregious. It can have different connotations depending on the courts perspective this can vary.

Splitting assets during the divorce with domestic violence in a state that needs to see the abusive situation as extreme and shocking will need extra work on the abused side. This is why an experienced lawyer is always recommended.

Domestic Violence in the Exclusion of All Fault

This is when fault isn’t considered under any circumstance in the division of assets. This completely excludes domestic violence as a factor from the divorce.

These states adhere to the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. This act requires the division of assets without regard to marital misconduct.

Call an Experienced Attorney

As the information above reinforced contact a knowledgeable attorney to make sure you’re going in the right direction. As mentioned earlier divorce isn’t an easy situation and if you are adding domestic violence to it there’s more emotional baggage and legal situations to deal with.

Please keep in mind if you have children and are going through a divorce and dealing with domestic violence make sure your children are out of harm’s way.

Looking for a lawyer to handle your domestic violence and divorce case? Find the perfect lawyer for you in our 6,000 plus listings.



[1] NCADV | National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[2] A Guide to the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, 1998-2008. (n.d.). Retrieved from