6 out of 10 Americans don’t have an estate plan. It’s not that they don’t care about how their family will have to handle their estate one day. Most of the time, people just don’t know where to begin the process or how long it will take.

Can you just write down your wishes when the time comes or is there another way? Here are a few of the options you have for creating a will in New York.

Holographic wills

A holographic will is a will that you write out by hand. Before typewriters and then computers came along, this is how all wills were made.

But, today, handwritten wills are only valid in the state of New York if it is done by a member of the armed forces during an armed conflict, such as war or perhaps a police shootout. The will must also be entirely handwritten by this person, so it’s not incredible likely or common for many reasons.

Oral wills

“Okay, well what if I just explain what I want to happen?” you may be asking. Oral wills, wills that are spoken aloud abide by the same parameters of a written will in New York. Unless you are a service member in armed conflict, your spoken wishes won’t be honored by the courts.

DIY wills

A “do-it-yourself” will is a term popularly used to describe a last will and testament that can be made using an online service instead of an attorney. These packages are usually marketed as being a quick, easy and inexpensive way to outline your wishes.

However, the money you save on this option might end up costing your heirs. Because a professional isn’t helping you with the will individually, the online tools will likely produce a will that is too broad or too vague to use. This could make the entire will invalid, leaving inheritance up to intestate law.

Working with an attorney on your will

Writing, speaking or typing out your wishes won’t result in a legitimate will and testament for your family to use. Thankfully, there’s an easier, most secure alternative.

Working with an experienced attorney to create your will is the most sure-fire way to know that your family will have a legitimate reference point to look to after your passing. Before even beginning work on your estate plan, you can conduct a short consultation with a lawyer to learn more about what to include in a will and how long the entire process can take.