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View Full Version : How much did you pay for your will?


ReneeQ
01-18-2008, 10:17 PM
I'm stealing LisaM's idea from her "how much do you pay your accountant" thread. DH and I need a will. It's not complicated. We have no kids, want to leave everything to each other, and name someone else, in the event we die together. Also would like the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and a regular Power of Attorney.

Talked to an attorney today, recommended to me by our financial advisor. He said he charges $300 per person, or $500 for a couple, and that we don't need the Power of Attorney. I thought that was high.

Any opinions?

gris gris
01-18-2008, 10:26 PM
We paid $400 for ours, it's pretty much like what you described below except we have kids and a dog (who will go to my lucky inlaws!! LOL).

firsttimer2007
01-18-2008, 10:31 PM
That is high! You can download the forms for free. Fill them out (do not sign them). Take them (and as many copies as you need) to your local credit union/bank to have them notarized.

If you want to make them really, really legal you can file them with the court for a nominal fee.

Most everyone will take them if you have them notarized though. Also for you financial stuff (Bank Accts, Life Insurance, Insurance, 401k/403b's ect...)you can list who you want to get your stuff.

Your employer may have someone who will help you for free too.

Good Luck!

ceecee
01-18-2008, 10:47 PM
We paid $400.00 (DH got a courtesy discount!) for our trust. I didn't realize how expensive that service was.

moppety
01-18-2008, 11:24 PM
We did ours on LegalZoom.com, I think it cost us $60. I would definitely recommend them. Easy to use, you can ask for help, and we got the will fast :thumbsup2

Banana magic
01-18-2008, 11:48 PM
I've been thinking about this too. DH and I have to make some changes to our will. The last time we had it done with an attorney I think it cost about $600 for both of us. I was looking at some software I saw at Costco - Quicken Will maker. It cost $50. We do have kids, but it worked in any state and was okay for people with children. Has anyone used this?

Floridagal23
01-19-2008, 12:41 AM
I am graduating from law school in May with a specialization in estate planning and it is highly recommended you have all ancillary documents prepared (like a power of attorney for financial, health, etc and a living will). If you decide to go the "do it yourself" route, definitely make sure that it is executed with the formalities that your state requires (some states require 2 signatures, some 1, some have self attesting signature affidavits, some don't..)

summerrluvv
01-19-2008, 09:33 AM
Our office charges $550 for all of that for 2 people.

bdcp
01-19-2008, 09:44 AM
Our wills are part of our trusts. The trust cost the two of us $1100 a few years ago. Before that we did our wills ourselves.

Tink-aholic
01-19-2008, 09:46 AM
We set up a Trust, HPOA, pour-over will, and regular will for $850. We have my son from a previous relationship and my brother that we raise, plus a bit of money to manage for them until they are older. It was complicated, but that price is a one-time price and any additional changes are made for free for the rest of our lives (or as long as the attorney lives, I guess!). We got paper copies and digital copies on discs.

The peace of mind is priceless. So is life insurance.

jcc0621
01-19-2008, 11:16 AM
Do you either of you belong to a union? DH and I both do and we can get all of these things for no cost as part of our union benefits.

reddixie
01-19-2008, 11:26 AM
That is high! You can download the forms for free. Fill them out (do not sign them). Take them (and as many copies as you need) to your local credit union/bank to have them notarized.

If you want to make them really, really legal you can file them with the court for a nominal fee.

Most everyone will take them if you have them notarized though. Also for you financial stuff (Bank Accts, Life Insurance, Insurance, 401k/403b's ect...)you can list who you want to get your stuff.

Your employer may have someone who will help you for free too.

Good Luck!

Be very careful about do it yourself wills, Florida doesn't acknowledge those wills and so if you die you basically die intestate. Other states may have the same laws so I would check first. I would recommend you shop around your area and try to find an attorney that specializes in wills. Good Luck

Toby'sFriend
01-19-2008, 11:36 AM
something simple like that there is nothing wrong with one of the standard forms available at several sites

us legal forms
legal zoom

whatever.

They all have State specific wills -- including Florida.

You need to pay close attention to the state requirements. For instance in our state the Wills must be witnessed by 2 persons who are not named in the will and also usually notarized.

Chris
01-19-2008, 11:39 AM
Yikes! Glad I have lawyers in the family by these prices!
dh and I did our will a few years back and also have a living will. It cost us nothing.

iluvdisney
01-19-2008, 11:44 AM
As much as I know everyone needs to have a will - whichever way they choose to do them - isn't it more important to have a trust so your estate doesn't go to probate? I'm working on trying to understand all this.

Lorikr65
01-19-2008, 11:58 AM
Do you either of you belong to a union? DH and I both do and we can get all of these things for no cost as part of our union benefits.

What kind of union? My husband is in a union (police officer). I have been thinking about getting a will but have been putting it off because of the cost.

Toby'sFriend
01-19-2008, 12:11 PM
As much as I know everyone needs to have a will - whichever way they choose to do them - isn't it more important to have a trust so your estate doesn't go to probate? I'm working on trying to understand all this.

I believe you are probably talking about a Living Trust and you are right. For many people, they are very powerful Estate Planning vehicles.

Floridagal23
01-19-2008, 02:09 PM
Probate is not a "bad" thing..it just depends on your circumstances. Having a trust doesn't mean things go any more quickly in some cases. It may not be cost effective for you to have a trust, etc. for your needs. It might be good to schedule a meeting with an atty to discuss everything. It will probably factor into an hourly rate (price) for the meeting but maybe you'd be able to apply that toward your package, depending. I am joining a practice that does not do packaged e/p documents because of the tax planning involved, but I know that we always start every client out with a looong meeting to discuss their needs/objectives - which should be the same at any firm you go to, even if your needs are less complex. HTH :)

skier_pete
01-19-2008, 03:05 PM
I agree with some PP, I bought a blank will on-line from an on-line service for about $40. There is no requirement to have a lawyer set things up for you. Unless you have a lot of money and a lot of relatives to spread them around to, it is a fairly straightforward thing to do yourself. In NY you need two witnesses and a notary to watch you sign it, and it is then a legal will. The website I went to www.findlegalforms.com.

Everyone should do this at a minimum, especially if you have kids. Don't put it off, why do you want to leave a nightmare for your family if something (god forbid) were to happen to you and/or your spouse.

SkierPete

jcc0621
01-19-2008, 05:33 PM
What kind of union? My husband is in a union (police officer). I have been thinking about getting a will but have been putting it off because of the cost.

DH is a teacher and I am a Probation Officer. I would just call the union and see if it is part of your union benefits!

runwad
01-19-2008, 05:42 PM
DH and I just got a will a POA & Durable Health Care Power of attorney. We have 3 kids so we also have some guardian papers, but maybe those are part of the will? Anywho we live in a small town, had a lawyer do them and he charged us $150 for everything.

Oh and for someone who asked about a trust. My mom passed away in august and she didn't have a trust but had all her investments and bank accounts Payable on Death(or is it Transfer on Death??)....then named us kids...had the same thing on her house..no probate for us. We just had to split everything equally.

AllesonWonderland
01-19-2008, 06:02 PM
You need to pay close attention to the state requirements. For instance in our state the Wills must be witnessed by 2 persons who are not named in the will and also usually notarized.

Glad I read this thread, we went the 'do it yourself' route awhile back. Had our neighbor come over since he was a notary. :goodvibes But--DH and I signed as 1 of each other's witnesses...now I see that's a no no. We'll have to get them redone ASAP. (Needed to get them redone anyway because we relocated to a different state.) Thanks for the info!

Disney1976
01-19-2008, 06:33 PM
As much as I know everyone needs to have a will - whichever way they choose to do them - isn't it more important to have a trust so your estate doesn't go to probate? I'm working on trying to understand all this.

Not necessarily. Generally speaking, 95% of people don't need a trust. It really depends on what type of assets you have (and how much!) but as an informal rule, unless you have substantial assets, I wouldn't recommend one, because you'd just be wasting your money. As a pp mentioned, probate doesn't have to be scary, it is simply the process of settling your estate. What you DON'T want is to die intestate, or without a will, because then the state will decide what to do with your property.

Also, keep in mind if you already have wills in one state and you move, you may NOT necessarily need new documents -it depends on the requirements in that state, and each state is different. Only a licensed attorney in that state could tell you for sure.

I also agree with the previous poster who cautioned against "do it yourself" forms -for estate planning or anything else. I have seen my fair share of documents cross my desk from people who thought it would be cheaper to go it their own, or hire a "paralegal" service, etc., but the documents have poor wording, incorrect language, are vague, or are otherwise invalid because they were executed improperly or are the wrong forms entirely! Legal language is a veritable minefield, where a simple error, like replacing the word "and" for the word "or" can have dire financial and other consequences.

Only a licensed attorney should draft legal documents for you, because they are ones most familiar with the laws of your state and can take the time to explain terminology, answer questions, and explain how the process works. They can also help you decide if you need just a will, or a trust, and what kind of trust (Irrevocable, Marital, Revocable, Charitable, ILET, etc).

While prices can vary greatly based on your particular area, $500 for a couple to do both Wills, Powers of Attorney (I think they are very necessary documents, personally), Health Care Surrogate Designations and Living Wills is a great deal. Trusts will run substantially higher.

wayneg
01-19-2008, 07:34 PM
Wow can't believe costs over there. I thought we had expensive legal fees in UK but we did ours will recently, 75($150) for both of us. I guess it depends on work involved. Ours was all very simple, 15 mins with solicitor.

christiane
01-19-2008, 07:43 PM
I was the highest bidder at a silent auction. Will & Power of Attorney (financial & health) for my husband & I for $100!!

I felt a little guilty about this though and donated some extra funds to the charity holding the fundraiser. The lawyer who donated the item actually asked me what I paid for it and I was embarrassed to tell him. :rolleyes:

In my town every spring several lawyers donate their time as a fundraiser for the Easter Seals. I think they charge ~$200 for a simple will and the charity gets about 1/2 of that.

fireworks fan
01-19-2008, 08:07 PM
We were recently quoted $1500 for a trust with POA, living wills, guardianship. It still seems steep to me, but our family keeps encouraging us to go forward with it.

CEDmom
01-19-2008, 09:07 PM
We paid $250 about 7 years ago. We do have a child though. The fee included our wills, living wills and power of attorney.

Disney1976
01-19-2008, 10:52 PM
We were recently quoted $1500 for a trust with POA, living wills, guardianship. It still seems steep to me, but our family keeps encouraging us to go forward with it.

That's a pretty good deal for a trust package, IMHO. Depends on where you live though, what the going rates are for other attorneys in the area, etc. It wouldn't be that cheap by me.

CruisinEars
01-20-2008, 01:36 AM
Wow, you all have some good prices for your wills. We paid $700 this past year and the attorney is an old friend of my dh. We did some estate stuff though so that might have increased the cost. But we felt he was thorough and that we and the kids are taken care of if anything bad happens.