Drafting a will is a serious task for many reasons. One reason is that there is a lot of information about the law that you need to know before you can properly draft even a simple will. A second reason is that any mistakes in your will that may seem minor can lead to enormous financial and legal consequences for those who survive you.
As you go through these instructions, be aware that you are doing the work of a lawyer with yourself as the client. Lawyers are only able to do the very serious work of drafting wills after three years of specialized graduate-level education (law school) and passing a rigorous state licensing exam (the bar exam). As easy as we have tried to make it, writing a simple will is not a simple task, and you should not skip any part of these instructions, even if you think that you know what they have to say.
We Are Not Your Lawyers
This is not your typical legal disclaimer, so please read it carefully.
If you follow these instructions, it is extremely important that you recognize that we are not your lawyers, and you are not going to receive any of the benefits of hiring us or any of the protections of the lawyer-client relationship. We will not have interviewed you. We will not have reviewed any of your legal documents or had an opportunity to ask you any detailed questions that might otherwise help us give you advice. We will not have considered your circumstances or given you an opinion of what we think you should do. We will not double-check your drafting to make sure you did it right, that you did not make any mistakes or overlook any important details. You will be exercising your own judgement in place of ours. You should think of using these instructions as you would think about using a legal reference book you found in a bookstore or at the library. This is not a personalized or customized experience.
For all of these reasons, a legal document that you draft for yourself using these instructions, including any mistakes it contains, is 100% your responsibility. These are some of the trade-offs of using do-it-yourself instructions instead of hiring a lawyer.
Even though we are not your lawyers, these instructions will:
- screen you to make sure you do not continue if you are ineligible to use a simple will in place of more complex estate planning tools;
- explain many of the major legal concepts that relate to drafting wills under Washington law;
- provide a free model form for you to modify to make your own simple will;
- provide examples of model language with instructions for how to add it to your simple will if you decide that it should be included in your simple will; and
- provide you with a list of steps for finalizing your simple will after you finish drafting it.