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D-I-Y Wills 10/23/11

"No, I don't have a will." "I do not, I'm embarrassed to say." "You don't think about a will. You don't even think about dying, to be honest with you."

Attorney Michael Markhoff says while few people relish the task of writing a will, it's critically important to have one. Michael Markhoff, "You really want to have a will to dispose of the assets the way you want to and also especially when you have children. No matter how much money you have, you must have a will to name a guardian to watch the children."


Consumer Reports Money Adviser looked at software programs - three in all - that claim to help you write a will for less than the cost of a lawyer. ( Web video) "My husband and I made a will on LegalZoom." The heavily-advertised LegalZoom, along with Rocket Lawyer, allow you to create a will online. The third program tested, Quicken WillMaker Plus, is available as a download or a CD-ROM. "These products cost from 25 dollars for a flat fee to 119 dollars for a yearly subscription. We bought all three, tested them, and with the help of an outside expert, we judged their ease of use and the quality of the wills they produced." Consumer Reports found problems with all three programs. Tobie Stanger, "There was little specific information on state estate-tax laws, which can be different from federal laws." And there are other drawbacks with these do-it-yourself wills. They do not allow users to create a special-needs trust, and they give no specifics on compensating executors. Still, all three are better than nothing if you have no will. Quicken's WillMaker Plus is the best of the three. But unless your needs are very simple, you're better off consulting an attorney. "

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