Can you write your own will for free?

In Tennessee, yes, you probably could. 

You could print off a form from a website, scrawl down your thoughts about what you’d like to happen when you die, shove it in a folder on your desk and hope for the best.

In Tennessee, you can have a handwritten will and you don’t even need it to be notarized. 

But let’s talk about what’s at stake.

Like it or not, the choices you make while you’re alive could have far-reaching effects on your friends and family after you’re gone.

  • Do you want to leave them to interpret what you meant when you were trying to squeeze all of your wishes for them into a few lines on a single sheet of paper?
  • Would you want the family drama caused by your scribbled will to ruin the next three Thanksgiving dinners?
  • Do you really want to risk the state making decisions about the best way to distribute the things you spent your life earning? 


Yes, meeting with an attorney to discuss your estate plan will cost money and time. And maybe that’s why so many people don’t bother.

A 2017 survey showed that most Americans – 6 in 10 – do not have a will or living trust.

In addition, 81% of Americans age 72 and older have a will, the survey found. But only 58% of Baby Boomers did. Even less Generation Xers had wills at just 36 5. In turn, the numbers among Millennials reflected only 22% had wills. 

Here are three reasons why you should hire an attorney to work on your will:

Difficult decisions

When you’re writing a proper will, there will be some tough choices along the way. Things like choosing an executor can be difficult, but making the right decision will ensure your will is carried out correctly. While the attorney will go through the details of your will with a fine-toothed comb to make sure your exact plans are in writing, your executor needs to understand all of the intentions behind those decisions. That way if something isn’t clear or conflicts arise after your demise, your executor will know best what you would have wanted. 


A good local attorney knows the correct language for your state, the issues that have been problematic in the past, the appropriate court to work with, and all the other steps to take to make sure your last will and testament will stand the test of time. 

Less stress for family and friends

Most people don’t want to think about these things, but they should. When you pass away, your family and friends will be grieving. An unclear will could cause additional agony and stress, while a well-prepared will can provide comfort. A good local attorney will continue to work with your family and executor to make sure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone.