You are going to die. That’s kind of a simple statement, even if it is morbid. It’s true though, everyone dies eventually. A big difference is how people handle their affairs at the end. How do you want your things split up, or do you want it all donated to charity? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Maybe even a Viking funeral? Be honest with yourself when asking, if you don’t write that down in a legal document, do you think your family will go through with it? So how much does it cost to make a will and how do you do it?
There are many options for you at this point. Before you begin though, you may want to do a little research and see what choice is best for you. Lawyers can be expensive, but online wills may be inadequate. What should you do, and how much does it all cost?
One route you can go is to do everything digitally. Especially if you don’t have a whole lot to leave behind, online wills can be a quick and easy way of making sure things go smoothly after you pass. There are many sites that offer various levels of will-making depending on how in-depth you wish to be and how much you have to leave behind. A little research shows that for some of the most popular sites, the average price is between $69 and $79 dollars.
If you are doing an online will and wish to make it more comprehensive, of course the price will rise, however it still may be worth the investment. Property and money being left in wills are notoriously challenged in courts if there are any loopholes and these wills, while being somewhat basic and less unique to you specifically are air-tight in most circumstances. Even if you are planning on making a big, long hand-drawn will in a moleskin notebook late in life so you can seem extra fancy, having an online version early on will at least provide you with a base and a backup plan in case if anything happens before you can get that notebook ordered from the local bookstore.
One thing to look out for with online wills is a technicality. Some states such asTexas,Mississippi, andLouisianahave varying laws which would prohibit online wills from being completely effective. You should do some research before signing up and charging your credit card if in fact the will would stand up in your state courts.
When drafting up a will by hand or through a lawyer there are a few things you need to know. For one, there needs to be witnesses to the signing of the will that cannot be beneficiaries of said will. So if for instance you wanted to leave your house to your eldest child, your eldest child cannot be a witness to the signing of the will or else either his signature will become invalid (which might mean the will becomes invalid) or everything you left the child will now no longer be applicable to them. There are many cases of hand-drawn wills that were signed by a wife or husband that turned out to not be legal in courts because the signer of the will left everything to said wife or husband. While it seems annoying to have to go through the extra step of having an unbiased witness, it does make sense when you think about it. It keeps you from leaving everything to someone who is, for instance, a primary caregiver and is holding your health hostage. If you decide to go through a lawyer though, the lawyer and an assistant can both sign on as witnesses, preventing any ugly court proceedings.
Also keep in mind that there are many loopholes that can be exploited in a will, especially one written without the benefit of a lawyer. The downside of course is that using a lawyer can get expensive. The average range is between $100 and $250 dollars depending on how much the lawyer charges per hour and how complex the will itself is. Some can even charge up to $600 dollars an hour. If you find yourself asking how much does it cost to make a will, the answer is really twofold. If your looking for easy and cheapness its likely in the $75 range and if your looking for complexity or just feel more comfortable having someone else do it your looking at around $150-$175 dollars.