View Full Version : Anyone use an online service for a Will?
06-21-2005, 01:26 PM
We should have had a will 2 years ago when DS was conceived. But, we're bad, bad, bad and still don't have one. I want to get it done NOW! So, has anyone used an online program or fill-in-the blank form for a will?
I found this site: http://www.legacywriter.com/Home.html. I don't know much about it though.
Or, should we just find a lawyer to do it?
06-21-2005, 01:30 PM
We're bad bad bad here too! Haven't done it yet, but DH just bought WillMaker Plus by Quicken. His friend said it was easy to use. We'll likely do one with a lawyer at some point, but just want to get something on paper now.
Looks like you can download it for $40.
06-21-2005, 01:31 PM
I'm a freaking law student and we do not have one!! And DH and I carpool together every-morning (well, during the school year), so I know statistically the odds of us dying at the same time are higher that usual.
I've had many false starts: first, BIL was going to do one, but he lives in Indiana and honestly I don't trust his lawyering skills, so that fell through. I know findlaw.com has some free software ones; I need to go go a fake will soon. Pretty much everyone int he family knows in no uncertain terms what is to happen to Erik, and we have no real assets except for a house we bought a year ago, and insurance policies so we don't have too many worries in that regard ;)
06-21-2005, 01:55 PM
As an attorney who has recently started filling this gap (cost- effective estate planning new families), I would stay away from an online service or office store forms. A bad will or will that doesn't comply with your state's laws could be worse than nothing at all. I would find a lawyer that you like, maybe a WAHM in your area. There are several who advertise in our local parenting publications. Of course, a personal rec from someone who actually likes :) their lawyer is always the best.
If your estate is less than federal and state (if your state has a tax) estate taxes, it shouldn't be that expensive to do a basic estate plan ("matching" wills for you, spouse with a children's trust, health care directives ("living will") and health care power of attorney. Or you can just do a will. If there are not tax planning issues involved, a basic will shouldn't be that complicated and shouldn't cost much. Even some basic tax avoidance estate planning techniques should be affordable if you are close to or just over the estate tax threshhold.
After hearing from several friends and reading on these boards how much people were paying (many seemed to be paying way too much for what they needed/received) for basic wills for small estates (with no tax issues), I've started focusing on this niche (not a solicitation!) since I can't believe how many people don't have anything in place. At the very least, I personally wanted my wishes on the guardianship of my son known. As your assets grow, you can invest down the road in some more complex (ie expensive) planning to avoid taxes and such.
06-21-2005, 02:01 PM
I think you should find a lawyer--IMHO this is a very important document and you want it done correctly. DH and I went to a lawyer (and did I mention that DH is a lawyer, LOL?!!). I might ask around for some recommendations. We went to a trusted friend of his, who didn't charge us much (if anything, honestly).
06-21-2005, 02:02 PM
You are not alone. We belatedly did ours before our son was born. Then he was a year old before I freaked out and did ours, refused to leave on a vacation until it was signed, and husband was convinced I'd lost it. I know a ton of lawyers with kids, assets, etc. and no plan. Many are now clients! (Including a former law prof - no pressure there.)
If you have Westlaw or Lexis access, you could probably find some decent form docs as a starting place in your state's probate practice guide. Might be better than wading through all the findlaw stuff, much of which is not current. Just a thought.
06-21-2005, 02:53 PM
Well, I'm an attorney, and I wouldn't even DREAM of writing my own will. I couldn't tell you anything about them - other than the fact that you should hire an attorney who actually practices in trusts and estates.
As long as you don't have crazy complicated assets, and just want to set up a simple trust for your DS, etc., I'm sure you can find someone to do it for a small fee ($300-$500, depending on where you live).
Ours has some relatively complicated guardianship issues, and it was still fairly inexpensive.
06-21-2005, 03:14 PM
I posted on this a few months ago and the consensus I got was to hire a real lawyer. Too many state nuances to leave it to a generic form, and if you needed to make changes and the website went under, a big pain the rear.
We found an attorney through word of mouth who charged us $450 for 4 docs: will, living will, power of attorney and health surrogate. It is the basic package. Shop around because I talked to another guy who wanted $750 for the same thing.
06-21-2005, 03:39 PM
Have a lawyer do it!! Not only will they do it right and keep it up to date with any changes in state law, but they are there any time if you have changes or questions. We call our attorney 1-2 times per year with something or another (we have living trusts, so it is more complicated) and don't get billed a dime for that service, but feel like we're getting the most up-to-date advice.
Even with our trusts and all that, we paid a little over $1000 for the whole deal. If you don't need trusts, it should be a lot less, and you have the peace of mind that it is done RIGHT.
06-21-2005, 04:17 PM
We paid $400 for will, trust, healthcare power of attorney, normal power of attorney, and living wills. Money well spent.
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