Did you know that less than half of all Americans surveyed currently have a will? It’s easy to understand why. It can be uncomfortable to think about the end of your life or what will happen to your family when you’re no longer there to provide for them. But having your will in place is one of the most important things you can do to protect your loved ones’ future.
Everyone should have a will no matter the size of your estate. Without one, a probate court will end up making important decisions about who inherits your property or money, and who will take care of your children after your death. Having a will in place, on the other hand, ensures that your wishes are carried out.
So how much does it cost to make a will? That depends on a few different factors, such as how you choose to draft it, where you live, and the size and complexity of your estate. The following is a discussion about some of the options available to you when drafting your will and how much you can expect to pay for each.
Write a Holographic Will
A holographic will is another name for a completely hand-written will that you draft yourself. Online templates and software are available to walk you through the process and give you a better idea of what you need to include. Although this option might sound appealing at first because it’s free (aside from a small fee to have it notarized), not all states accept holographic wills as valid. Unless you have legal experience and are familiar with the laws in your state, it can also be easy to make mistakes or omit important information, which might complicate things for your designated beneficiaries.
Use an Online Legal Service
Several online services exist that will charge a fee ranging anywhere from $50 to around $200 to draft your will. Although you might have access to trained specialists to help you, these documents usually rely on you filling out an online questionnaire that might not fit your specific situation or needs.
Hire an Estate Planning Attorney
While hiring a professional is the most expensive option, it is often worth the extra money for the peace of mind of knowing that your legal document is valid and error-free. In addition to familiarity with the laws in your state, a good estate planning attorney will also be able to walk you through all your options and consider alternatives you might not be aware of, like a living will.
Depending on where you live, you might pay as little as $300 to as much as $1,000. Generally speaking, if you live in an area with a higher cost of living, attorney fees will also be higher. Attorney fees can also be affected by how complicated your needs are. For instance, if you have a large estate with a lot of assets, if you have several beneficiaries to consider, if you have a special needs child, if you own a business, if you are divorced, etc., it might take longer for you and your attorney to work through all the issues to your satisfaction, resulting in higher fees. At the end of the day, though, knowing that you and your loved ones don’t have to worry about the future is worth it.
Consult the Experts at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri
At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we have decades of experience in helping our clients draft wills to ensure their wishes are clearly set out and will stand up in court. Our estate planning attorneys can also work with you to update your will after a major life event like the birth of a child, buying or selling a house, starting a business, getting divorced, or coming into an inheritance. Call us today at 408-553-0801 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to working with you to protect your family and your future.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.