No. of Recommendations: 3
There are too many "What if's" to consider before preparing a Will.

Hi Donna. I would probably rephrase this to “There are a lot of considerations in planning one's estate.”

In the case of my mom, I prepared her Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will with free internet forms. None of the assisted living facilities, nursing homes or hospitals in the last 20 months of her life questioned these forms. I did not know about preparing a Do Not Resuscitate Order, but that oversight was caught early.

I was designated as her Financial Power of Attorney (valid only while she lived). This form was prepared by an Army lawyer and clearly stated the US Code mandating it as valid in all US states and territories About 30% (plus or minus) of my mom's financial institutions would not accept it. I used her favorite financial institution to suck those funds from those offending institutions.

I was also the Executor of her Will (valid only after she passed), I prepared her Will (with the help of software) and I planned her estate.
- I kept her main checking account without beneficiaries so that the Executor (me) would have access to these funds after her passing, as well as maintaining her financial obligations while she lived. I was aware of her ongoing expenses and had calculated her “after death” expenses and kept a reasonable additional buffer in that account. After her passing, this account needed to be closed (that is why there were no beneficiaries, thus no distribution), then re-established as an Estate for Mother-of-Splat account. This new account handled her last expenses, her 2012 taxes, and remains open because Medicare accepts bills for up to 12 months after a service is performed.
- All her other financial accounts had beneficiaries and were mostly distributed within about 1-1/2 months. As such these funds bypassed the Will and the need for probate.
- A condo was scheduled to go to my niece and this was done by Beneficiary Deed. As such this property bypassed the Will and the need for probate.
- The remainder of my mom's assets were either given to children/grandchildren, sold or donated. At the time of her death, the wealth included in her Will was less than $60,000, so forms didn't have to be filed with the Court.

One thing I didn't realize was without documentation of my mother's desire to be cremated, all my siblings and I had to sign forms consenting to her cremation. That was only a minor inconvenience though.

Get thee to an attorney. Remember, a penny saved can be a pound foolish.

I think everybody's circumstances are different, so the “need” for an attorney varies. With that said, my suggestion of considering software to help with those needs was only a suggestion if the OP desired to do things himself. In the case I described above, I doubt that the help of a lawyer could have made things go any more smoothly.
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