Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawyer's Wise Choice to Write Your Will

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawyer's Wise Choice to Write Your Will

Article excerpt

Q: My husband and I have been thinking about a will. We have no children, and we have no valuable possessions. We are still paying off the mortgage on our home. We thought we'd just get a packet with forms for a will and a living will from an office supply store, but we had these questions:

What's the difference between using standard will forms and having an attorney write our wills?

Are such forms from an office supply store legal and safe to use? If we use them, where should they be kept or filed for our surviving relatives since no attorney would have a copy? A: In response to your first question, I first have to say that I don't understand why so many people would prefer going to an office supply store instead of an attorney to have a will done. I can understand many people's reluctance even to have a will; one's own death is not a subject easily approached. But a simple will is one of the cheapest things you can have a lawyer do, and the consequences of doing it wrong can be considerable. The difference in the two ways of doing a will is this: A good lawyer will ask questions, listen to the answers, suggest options, help you avoid pitfalls, make sure the will is drafted and executed properly so it will do what you want and be accountable if something is done wrong. A standard form does none of those things. That's the choice between the two. As for the living will, I would answer the same question a bit differently, although with some reluctance. If by a living will you mean a declaration directing the withholding or withdrawing of "death-prolonging procedures," Missouri statutes contain a model form that is sufficient for that purpose. You can get a copy of this model form by writing: Missouri Bar Publications Department, Box 119, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102-0119. The first copy is free; additional copies are 75 cents each. …

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