A will is a vital tool for safeguarding your possessions and making end-of-life decisions. No matter how many discussions you have with your family about your preferences, it is still critical that you establish a legal will and testament to get everything in writing. To get started, you need to know how to get a good attorney to help you create your will. You also need to know how much it will cost you to create a will in states like Georgia, Virginia, and Florida. And that’s what this article is about.
What Is a Will?
A will is a written document that expresses your preferences for after death.
Wills can (and should) cover a wide range of topics and be as precise as possible in order for a judge to appropriately assess your intentions.
Your will can be used to:
- Appoint an executor (i.e. the individual responsible for handling your estate),
- Make a list of your assets and liabilities.
- Select how you want to distribute your assets and property.
- Bequeath your spouse and/or children,
- Make a guardian appointment for any minor children.
- Make a list of your funeral/burial preferences.
You can add to, alter, change, or cancel your will as many times as you like during your lifetime because it won’t become effective until you die.
One of the most significant disadvantages of a will, however, may surprise most individuals. Even a legitimate will must go through probate court after your death and can be challenged by your remaining relatives. The contents of your estate become a public record during probate, and your estate will be reduced to pay for attorney/court expenses.
How much does it cost to have a will drafted by a lawyer?
You’ve probably heard that if you want a legally binding will, you should employ an attorney. That is the typical method of making a will. And there’s a reason it’s a classic. Attorneys are well-versed in their state’s estate laws and may provide you with competent counsel in your specific situation. The disadvantage is that engaging an attorney is the most expensive option to create a will. The cost of paying for the attorney’s time and expertise might quickly pile up. But how much will it cost exactly?
The only answer is, “It depends.”
We told you it wasn’t very helpful! But here’s something that might be useful:
We’ll look at the four elements that influence how much attorneys charge for wills, as well as the typical cost of a will based on those considerations.
#1. Your Residence
Because some areas have higher living costs than others, experts must charge more for their services. An attorney in Los Angeles will cost significantly more than an attorney in Little Rock.
#2. The Attorney’s Level of Experience
Remember how we stated you pay an attorney for their knowledge? A seasoned attorney with 30 years of experience will charge far more than a rookie attorney who has just passed the bar. Hiring a younger attorney can help you save money. However, they will lack experience, which may be an issue if you have a large sum of money or property to distribute in your will.
#3. Your Estate’s Value
In fact, having a large estate can affect the cost of your will. The more valuable your possessions or the more money you have, the more your will will cost. This is because the attorney will have to devote more time and effort to ensure that the will covers all of your assets. However, if you have a modest estate worth less than $1 million, you will normally pay less for a will.
#4. The Attorney’s Pricing Strategy
Attorneys charge varying fees depending on the service they provide. When it comes to wills, they will most likely charge a set price or an hourly fee.
Flat fees are advantageous since you know the cost of your will in advance. There is more unpredictability when you pay by the hour. If your will is basic and you keep on subject when you meet with the attorney, hourly rates may be less expensive.
However, if you waste time talking about matters unrelated to your will, or if your will becomes more intricate than you anticipated, that hourly cost can quickly mount up. So it is your responsibility to save money by being prepared and remaining focused.
The Average Cost of a Lawyer Drafted Will
Attorney-made wills have a wide pricing range due to these four reasons. However, the average flat charge for a basic will is under $300. If you have a larger, more complicated estate, you will pay a greater flat charge. Your cost could be $1,000 or more in that situation.
The cost of a will is more variable with hourly costs. An attorney’s hourly charge ranges from $200 to $350 per hour, depending on where you live and the attorney’s experience.
Assume you require a simple will. Paying a skilled big-city lawyer by the hour will cost you between $300 and $400. A newer attorney or one who practices in a remote region will have a lower hourly rate—possibly even lower than the national average. So you’re looking at a price range of $150 to $250. Those are significant discounts!
Those savings, however, are not assured. A less skilled attorney may take longer to create the will, increasing the expense. If you choose an attorney who works a long distance away, you must account in the time you’ll spend driving to their office and taking time off work to meet with them.
If your will takes longer to draft or your fortune is so large that you require a living trust, you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500. Again, the price varies depending on the parameters we just discussed.
So do some comparison shopping. Most attorneys provide a free consultation, which is an excellent opportunity to interview them and ensure that they are a good fit. Inquire with at least three attorneys about their expertise with wills similar to yours, and obtain estimates to determine who provides the best value.
Are There Any Low-Cost Will Options?
Yes! There are various low-cost alternatives to hiring an attorney to create a legally enforceable will.
A holographic will is one that you handwrite or type up yourself. It’s also a very cheap alternative because it’s free. Yep—free! You simply write down and sign your wishes.
However, there are some significant drawbacks to holographic wills.
Not all states recognize these wills as valid. If your state does not accept your homemade will, the courts will distribute your belongings according to state laws, not your wishes. Furthermore, state laws are continually changing. Even if your will currently follows the regulations, it may become null and void if the laws change or you relocate out of state.
Another issue is that you are not an estate planning expert (sorry, but it’s probably true if you’re reading this). You could easily make a mistake or leave anything vital out of your will without realizing it. You’d be leaving your belongings—or, worse, your loved ones—vulnerable. And the more assets you have, the more probable it is that you will make a major error.
So, if you have a very simple scenario, such as being a single minimalist with no dependents, a holographic will may be appropriate for you. Maybe. Check the laws in your state, learn how to make a will, and cross your fingers.
However, if you’re married, have children, own any significant possessions, or simply dislike taking chances, you should consider long and hard about how thoroughly you want to secure your belongings and family. Then explore the following will-making alternatives.
The best of both worlds will be available online. They’re reasonably priced, ranging from $90 to $150 for a person (or $180 to $300 for a married pair). You may complete them from the comfort of your couch. Furthermore, most online wills include additional legal documents such as financial and health power of attorney forms, living wills, or advanced health care directives.
Isn’t that fantastic? That’s because it is! Keep in mind that if you have a big estate, such as $1 million or more in total net worth, you may still need to consult with an attorney. Otherwise, an online will is the most cost-effective option to obtain a legally binding will.
Naturally, some online legal forms are superior to others. As a result, we only propose our reliable partners. For $129, you get four legal documents: your will, financial and healthcare power of attorney forms, and a letter of instruction. For an additional $69.00, you can add a mirror will for your spouse.
All of these documents have been created by attorneys to be legally binding in your state. So you may rest easy knowing your will is lawful and will stand up when your family needs it to.
How Much Does a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney’s Will Cost in Virginia?
There is no single answer. You should conduct your research, contact the attorney in question, and see if you get a good vibe from them. Did they respond to your questions in a knowledgeable and thoughtful manner? Did they take their time discussing your estate situation with you, or did they rush through it? Moreso, did they “hard sell” you or did they seem reasonable to work with?
Following an initial session, a skilled estate planning attorney will provide you with an estimate based on your individual situation and general estate planning wishes. If you are married with children and do not have complicated assets, the attorney should be able to provide you a rapid price that takes into account your assets and bequests.
If you are remarried with children from a previous marriage and/or have more complicated assets (i.e., multiple properties potentially out of state), the attorney will most likely give you a higher quote because they will need to analyze your assets and desired bequests to ensure your estate passes exactly as you wish it to without incurring unnecessary or excess taxes.
Should You Pay for a Consultation?
Many estate planning firms may charge you a fee for the initial session. This is not unusual and is occasionally used to screen out persons who are not serious about hiring an attorney to create their testamentary forms. However, keep in mind that when you include in a high consulting charge, your estate plan may not be all that complicated.
How Much Does a Will in Georgia Cost?
The average cost of a Georgia will is between $300 and $600, but the amount you spend depends on how complex the form is and whether you use a template or an attorney.
This is, once again, an average. Your lawyer may charge you more or less. Some attorneys may use a template. Others may opt to draft their own paperwork.
Simple wills and trusts created from templates are typically less expensive than sophisticated forms created by a solicitor. When it comes to your estate plan, though, your budget should never be your sole consideration.
Your last desires are far too crucial to entrust to an internet template. Instead, your needs should always take precedence. If you want to strike a balance between cost and thoroughness, you can utilize an internet template and have it reviewed by an attorney.
How Much Does A Will Cost in Florida?
When created by an attorney, the average cost of a living will that does not contain variables like as a trust or deal with federal estate taxes is around $375. More sophisticated documents may cost more than $1,000. If you opt to draft a will on your own using a legal website, you should budget around $100. As a result, the cost of a will in Florida might vary greatly based on your personal circumstances and the manner of preparation you choose.
Can I Write My Own Will In Ontario?
Many provinces, including Ontario, allow you to write your will by hand, but it must be entirely in your own handwriting. It must also be signed by you. You don’t need anyone to see it.
Is A Homemade Will Legal In Canada?
In several Canadian provinces, a handwritten or holographic will is deemed lawful. The only need for the court to recognize a handwritten will is that the testator write and sign the will in his own handwriting.
Do banks write wills?
Some banks provide will writing services; ask yours if they can assist you. However, make certain that you can choose your own executor, as some banks demand a high fee for this.
Can I Get A Will Form From The Post Office?
It is simple and inexpensive to obtain a ‘will pack’ from a local stationer or post office, which allows you to draft your own will. These are only appropriate in the most basic of circumstances, where no property is owned and no beneficiaries are under the age of 18.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about what you want to happen to your property when you die. However, unless you have made an estate plan, your hopes and wishes will be meaningless. Having a will or trust in place guarantees that your desires are carried out exactly as you wish. However, you need the services of an experienced wills and estate attorney to help you create your will, and it comes with its cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for a will to be valid in NY?
A Will must be in writing, dated, and signed by the creator of the Will, with two witnesses signing and adding their addresses under their signatures, to be valid at all times. It is not recommended to simply write out your wishes without the witness formalities.
Who inherits if there is no will in New York?
If a New York resident dies without leaving a will, the surviving spouse obtains the full probate inheritance if no children or other descendants exist. If there are offspring, the surviving spouse receives the first $50,000, and the remainder is divided equally between the spouse and the decedent’s descendants.
How Much Does A Will Cost In Ontario?
A will in Ontario can cost anywhere from $300 to $1400.
What month are wills free?
March is generally known as the wills-free month.