Lets face it, many of us do not want to confront the inevitable, but we all eventually kick the bucket. A will protects your family and assets, and creating one does not have to cost you thousands of dollars. Below are four affordable ways to create a will.
Note, I am not a lawyer and this is not intended as legal advice. When it comes to legal matters, consult an attorney.
- Draft it yourself – If you’d like to create your own will, make sure to do some research before starting. I found Nolo.com helpful when researching information about wills. Creating a simple will is best for those who are under 50 years of age and do not expect to leave assets valuable enough to be subject to estate tax. Expect to pay estate taxes if your taxable estate is worth more than $5.12 million for 2012 deaths. Price: Free
- Websites – A quick search online and you’ll find all sorts of websites that can help you create a will. Look for one that is state specific so the document you create includes information required by the state you live in. I found some of these websites to be similar to tax software. The website will ask you questions and you respond to customize the will. The ones with fees usually included the option to get attorney support. Free – $80
- Software – Low-priced software is another option that allows you to sit down and create a will. Quicken WillMaker Plus is one of them. I haven’t used this software, but I consider it to be trustworthy as it is from Quicken, the same company that has money management software. The software is similar to the websites I mentioned in option No. 2 and will guide you through the process of creating a will. If you decide to go for the software, make sure to check the system requirements. Quicken software is only for windows users. Price: $40 – $70
- Hire an attorney – This option is best for anyone with a complicated will, including having control over their property after death, a child with a disability, estate taxes due after death, children from a previous marriage, or fear someone might contest the will. A lawyer will be much more expensive, but you’ll rest assured knowing thing are in order. The attorney should be willing to begin with a free consultation, and he or she should give you an estimate of the total cost before you hire them. Make sure the lawyer can practice in your jurisdiction. Two benefits that come along with hiring an attorney are he or she can make sure that your will is executed (which an online service can’t do) and they can also keep a copy of your testament for safe keeping. Price: A few hundred to a few thousand dollars
This is one of those times where it’s worth paying for competent legal advice to make sure you end up with a valid will that does what you want it to do. What do you think? Would you create your own will or pay to make sure it’s valid?