How much does a simple will cost?
The most common question that I get and that I see online in different forums where people can ask legal questions is, “How much does a simple will cost?” The answer to that is that there is no such thing as a simple will, at least at my office. We create plans that involve a variety of documents based on the client’s needs, and we plan for incapacity as well as death. Another way I could answer that question is to ask: “How much does a conservatorship cost?” or “How much does a probate costs?” or “What is the cost of doing things the wrong way?” These are all risks that you take by approaching estate planning with the attitude that your situation is simple and that your estate plan should be cheap. So if you ask yourself what the costs are of a conservatorship, probate, or worse, screwing up your plan, you’ll see that a “simple will” actually costs thousands of dollars, and maybe even your family’s well being and your own legacy.
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How much does a conservatorship cost?
A simple will does not help you and your family if you are incapacitated, and you are far likelier to be incapacitated at any given point than you are to die. A will only takes effect after you die, so if you are incapacitated, the will is useless. This means that if your family needs to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, or manage your assets, they will need to ask the court for a conservatorship. This is a court process that can cost thousands of dollars, and it lasts for the rest of your life.
How much does a probate cost?
Many people think that having a will means that their family won’t have to go through a court process called probate when they die. This isn’t true. A will is a document that tells a probate judge what you want done with your assets. So, if you die, your family won’t be able to do anything with your assets until your estate has gone through the probate process. This means that your family will be held up for a year or more, and the cost will likely be several thousand dollars.
What about the cost of doing this wrong?
Many people turn to “simple wills” because there are so many DIY options available to prepare one. But people usually make mistakes when they do it this way. I’ve reviewed these wills and found that they disinherited children accidentally, failed to include provisions that saved thousands of dollars, and left their assets in ways where distant friends and family members got specific distributions that left the kids, the actual intended beneficiaries, with nothing. So here, we have the cost to your family and to your legacy.
The moral of the story is, there is no such thing as a simple will. There are no short cuts, and estate planning is not the place to cut corners. Do it right, do it with an estate planning lawyer, invest in yourself and your future, and that of your family.
If you want to get started on your estate plan, read about our estate planning services and schedule an appointment.
To your family's health + happiness.
~Candice N. Aiston
P.S. Want to get started slowly but surely, naming guardians for your kids? Check out our Guardian Plan kit.
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Candice N. Aiston is an Legal Planning Attorney for Estates + Businesses in the Portland, Oregon area. She helps people to prepare for a lifetime of security, prosperity, and guidance. If you would like to receive her free reports, please visit http://aistonlaw.com/ to sign up. Follow her Facebook page for daily planning tips: https://www.facebook.com/aistonlaw/.