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Writing a will...can you do this thrifty?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dh adn I have not done this. I know we need to...we have been married 12 years in May and are expecting our 4th baby, but we have yet to write a will. I have always had it in my head that it is going to cost around $500 for a lawyer to do it and really don't have that kind of $$ to put out. Any ideas?
Thanks!
post #2 of 21
If you have a pretty simple financial/tax life you might be able to write your own.
Check out www.nolo.com. They can help you decide if you can write your own will. It will cost you $70+. My friend told me that our library has a membership and so it's free for us. I haven't tried though so I don't know that that's true.
post #3 of 21
I listen to the Dave Ramsey radio show on the internet (www.daveramsey.com) and he talks about getting one for $15. I am going to look into it just now and find a link.
post #4 of 21
Here is the link http://www.uslegalforms.com/dave/?auslf=daveramsey You can look more into it. I never tried looking into it as yet but always hear him advertising for them.

It has a link in the page that lets you listen to the Will commercial (under where the specials are written)
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much! I will start checking these out tomorrow when I can think more clearly, lol.
post #6 of 21
The DR $15 sounds really cheap, but Suze Orman also has a will- writing tool that she sells. I've seen it for my parents will and it seemed really thorough and easy to use.
post #7 of 21
We went through Legalzoom.com. Sounds non-legit but we had a really good experience. Easy to use website and when I called to ask a question, the customer service was great and the person I spoke to was quite knowledgeable. I think it was about $89 per will (each parent needs one) and we can make changes for free (just pay s/h) for 5 years.
post #8 of 21
subbing

We need to do this too. Also been married going on 12 years with two girls and just have never had the $ to spend on doing it. It seems so overwhelming, but really needs to be taken care of.
post #9 of 21
I just went to a will workshop - which was a local lawyer trying to sell you on his product so....

One of the big issues with the online will stuff is that they use California law as the basis of things. They tell you that California has the best protection, but the reality is that it was too complicated to make the online will specific for each state!

So, your heirs will need to hire lawyers in California to enforce your will. This might prove more difficult and complicated than working locally.

I haven't figured out what I'm going to do about our wills. My company offers a "free" service, but I get, from going to the workshop that this is going to work like one of those free/cheap trips in exchange for sitting through a hard-sell timeshare presentation. DH and I did that once, - the trip was great - very, very cheap and we had no trouble declining the timeshare offer.

post #10 of 21
uslegalforms.com has state specific wills.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cravenab00 View Post
uslegalforms.com has state specific wills.
That is the same company Dave Ramsey talks about but I believe he gets them cheaper for his listeners. Which if you listen to his station and the advertisement he gaves you the code when you call to get it for a discount.
post #12 of 21
Some credit unions have a service where they'll write up a will & have it notarized & such with lawyers as part of the cost. Here it is $75/person to do it.

Some places you don't need to do anything but write it down on a piece of paper so look into the laws of your state/province.
post #13 of 21
Each state has a form they've drawn up for people to use. It's called the "statutory form", and you can find it online in your state statutes (laws). Stick close to that, and you'll be fine if you're just looking for the basics -- you're planning on leaving everything to your spouse or your kids in equal shares, don't have complicated assets and are on your first marriage.

However, you should NEVER do your own will if you're planning on leaving less than 50% of your property to your spouse, if either you or your spouse has kids from a previous relationship, if you're disinheriting or leaving money to your children in unequal shares, if you have a kid who has predeceased you, if you're planning on forming a trust, if you're about to need nursing home care, or if you have 'abnormal' assets, like copyrights, property owned between you and someone outside of the family, etc.
post #14 of 21
First of all, a disclaimer that I am a lawyer so I'm totally biased against people doing their own wills because I have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS seen errors in form or content. My state has form requirements but also has CONTENT RESTRICTIONS that the general public just doesn't know about. And strangely enough, the prohibited legacies are the sort of stuff people actually want to put in their will quite often, and I have to often tell my clients "no you can't do that." So an online form can give you the right form but can't give you legal advice on content.

What I'm thinking is, it sounds like you never actually called a lawyer and perhaps you should call to at least get a definite price quote, maybe, possibly, you can get it done by a lawyer for cheaper than $500.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
First of all, a disclaimer that I am a lawyer so I'm totally biased against people doing their own wills because I have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS seen errors in form or content. My state has form requirements but also has CONTENT RESTRICTIONS that the general public just doesn't know about. And strangely enough, the prohibited legacies are the sort of stuff people actually want to put in their will quite often, and I have to often tell my clients "no you can't do that." So an online form can give you the right form but can't give you legal advice on content.

What I'm thinking is, it sounds like you never actually called a lawyer and perhaps you should call to at least get a definite price quote, maybe, possibly, you can get it done by a lawyer for cheaper than $500.
I'm an attorney as well, and yeah... I'm not so wild about people doing their own wills either. It's an enormous minefield, and you never know when you're going to run into trouble. But the reality is that the going rate for a simple will, with optional power of attorney in my market is $1000. Which is ABSURD. So if it's down to a possibly bad will with invalid clauses or no will at all it's a tough choice.
post #16 of 21
Another thought is, if all you're going to do in your will is leave your property to your legal heirs, then you might not even need a will. Maybe it would cost less to at least discuss this possibility with a lawyer, and then you can decide to do the will yourself after the consultation? IDK, just a thought. Because a lot of people make wills and the end result is the same as if they didn't have a will, and I wonder sometimes "why are you paying for this will, what's the point?"
post #17 of 21
We don't have a will and we've been going round and round in circles trying to figure out whether to go to a lawyer or not. It's amazingly expensive to get it done by a lawyer (around here, at least $2000-2500 for a couple). But we can't figure out how to do it with a simple do-it-yourself package.

For example:

If we both die, we would leave our property to our children. If the children are still children at that time, the money would be held in a trust and managed by my sister. So far so good. But if everything would be in a trust for the children, how would we also provide for our aging parents if they unexpectedly need extra money for health care, etc? How do other people do this?
post #18 of 21
We did two wills, powers of attorney (who will make decisions for your estate if you are unable), and living wills (life support options) all for $500 and I was very happy to have it all legal and settled.

The number one reason (as far as I'm concerned) to get a will NOW is guardenship!! Who will raise your kids if you and your spouse die? And who will make sure all your assets go to raising them?
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
Another thought is, if all you're going to do in your will is leave your property to your legal heirs, then you might not even need a will. Maybe it would cost less to at least discuss this possibility with a lawyer, and then you can decide to do the will yourself after the consultation? IDK, just a thought. Because a lot of people make wills and the end result is the same as if they didn't have a will, and I wonder sometimes "why are you paying for this will, what's the point?"
Because you can't name a guardian for minor children without a will. If you don't appoint someone you're leaving it to the courts to chose through a guardianship proceeding; often with family members arguing over who should care for your kids. Also, if you want your children to hvae your property but want some controls on how or when they get it, that needs to be done in a document.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
We don't have a will and we've been going round and round in circles trying to figure out whether to go to a lawyer or not. It's amazingly expensive to get it done by a lawyer (around here, at least $2000-2500 for a couple). But we can't figure out how to do it with a simple do-it-yourself package.

For example:

If we both die, we would leave our property to our children. If the children are still children at that time, the money would be held in a trust and managed by my sister. So far so good. But if everything would be in a trust for the children, how would we also provide for our aging parents if they unexpectedly need extra money for health care, etc? How do other people do this?

You give the trustee (person in charge of the trust) the discretion to release some of the funds to pay for your parents care. But a trust is not something for do-it-yourself style will writing.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Literate View Post

The number one reason (as far as I'm concerned) to get a will NOW is guardenship!! Who will raise your kids if you and your spouse die? And who will make sure all your assets go to raising them?
Thats really the only thing I'm worried about, seeing as how we really dont have any thing of value. And the issue has already come up, that my parents (who I have a terrible relationship with) have told my sister (who I love and I who would want to have custody of my child should anything happen) they "of course" they would get custody of Luna, and they'd be willing to fight for it!! (they've only seen her 3x, and she's almost 3!!!) Grr.

Anyone know how to do just that part???
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