What is the cost of obtaining a Will? And why?
If you find yourself wanting to draft a will at some point in time, this is one of the questions you might be asking yourself. It is a question which will probably lead to a lot of other questions. You might actually start wondering if it's possible to get a will for free. If that is possible, you might then ask yourself why you have to pay for a will in the first place.
All these are legitimate questions which need to be answered before you embark on the journey of obtaining a will. The cost of wills differs depending on a number of things. Nowadays there are even online will services available, and the cost of these differs from traditional methods. If you go online, you will see different prices for some Will drafting services and you might wonder why. In this article, we will address all of these questions and more.
What exactly is a Last Will and Testament?
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your belongings and the care of any minor children. The document first has to state without any reasonable doubt that it is indeed your last will and testament. If you do die without a will, there is a huge risk that your wishes may not be carried out. Furthermore, your heirs will be forced to spend extra time and resources to deal with your affairs after you are gone.
A will also has to state the individual who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. It should then describe in detail what is to be done with regards to the distribution of your estate. After you die, you may need your loved ones to gain access to your investments, bank accounts, real estate and other possessions. There are several strategies that can be put in place to distribute these and all that is supposed to be covered in your last will and testament.
How much does a will cost?
The cost of a will can depend upon several factors. There once was a time when you could go to a bank and have them draft a will for you entirely free of charge. But practices and times have changed. Today, if you approach a bank wanting them to draw up a will for you, you can expect to pay a considerable amount of money.
Free wills, however, are not entirely a thing of the past. There are some instances when you can obtain a free will. One factor that can contribute to the difference in cost when it comes to a will is the type of will being drafted. Some states will not accept certain kinds of wills, so it is important to find out what the regulations in your state say before you invest in drafting one. Below are some of the types of last wills that can be drafted.
Holographic Will or Olographic Will
This is a type of last will and testament that has been written in the testator's own handwriting. Sometimes it can be printed from a computer or typed on a typewriter. After the will has been typed and printed, the testator has to put their signature at the end.
A nuncupative will, which is also called an oral will, is a type of last will and testament that is spoken out loud. This type of will is usually made in instances where the testator is about to die due to the testator's impending death due to injury or illness (in other words, a "dying declaration").
This is a type of last will and testament that can be used in conjunction with a revocable living trust. As such, this type of will is often very brief because it is usually used to revoke all prior wills.
Self Proved Will
A self-proved will is will that is validated by attaching an affidavit that is signed by the witnesses to the will in the presence of a commissioner of oaths such as a Notary Public. This type of will is used to confirm that the witnesses actually saw the testator signing the will and cancels the need to obtain another affidavit from the witnesses after the death of the testator.
There are several other types of last wills, including Video Wills, electronically signed Wills and verbal promises. Some of them may not be valid under current laws.
Can you draft a will for free and if so, why?
The answer to that question is yes. In fact, banks people used to approach banks and have them do wills for free. Even in this day and ages, some wills can be drafted at no cost at all. Let's begin with the absolutely free last will and testament. There are a few ways that the cost of drafting a will can be free.
The Blank form Will "kit".
Some people view a will as being nothing but a piece of paper that describes how their belongings are going to be divided once they die. When one views a will as such, it is easy to see how the cost of doing it can be free.
The problem with this type of will is that it might not be an adequate representation of what the testator intended to be done. There are several issues that can be encountered when a last will and testament is being executed. This means a will has to be written correctly, making room for complications that might arise. A self-drafted will might not necessarily cover everything that needs to be covered.
Do it yourself will.
If you have scanned through a properly done last will and testament, you can easily notice how the legal jargon can be confusing for a regular person. One might be tempted to just sit down and write some bits and pieces of information then stitch them together to make a will. While this is possible, it doesn't mean that the document produced will make enough sense to allow people to make proper decisions regarding the writer's estate. The cost of doing such a will is absolutely free.
Online free will services.
There are several online services that claim to provide means of creating a free last will and testament that can then be downloaded and printed. Some of them will actually guide you through the process and provide pointers while providing the service for free.
What can you expect to get if you pay for a will?
When you hire a lawyer, it might cost you anything from $200 to $1000 to have them drafted a last will and testament for you. This will be a good choice if your estate is complex. Lawyers are quite knowledgeable in this area so they can walk you through the proper channels and allow you to draft something that will not cause problems later.
Estate planning strategies.
There is a lot more involved in estate planning than many individuals realise. It is a complicated area of financial planning that requires legal, financial and tax expertise if you plan on doing it correctly.
Essentially, estate planning refers to the process of managing and creating a programme that is designed to protect and grow your wealth. This also ensures that your intended wishes come to fruition after your death. It employs a multi-disciplinary strategy to structuring one's economic, financial, economic and psychological needs in relation to one's wealth, loved ones, spouse and beneficiaries.
So, how much should a Will cost?
Well, there is no straight answer to that question. It is possible to either underpay or overpay for a last will and testament. The average amount that is fair for you to pay, no matter what type of will you are doing is about $400 dollars. This especially applies if your estate is not very complicated and requires little or no estate planning advice.