A wills attorney charges $100 to $120 to write a basic will for a simple estate. If you have an estate with significant or complex assets, you may pay closer to $500 to $5,000. This price includes not just writing a will, but attorney services to make sure your estate is protected after your death. Hiring an attorney for your will instead of writing one yourself is the best option for protecting your assets and loved ones.
You do not necessarily need an attorney to write a will, but it is recommended. A will, or last will and testament, dictates how your property, finances, and custody of children is handled after you die. An attorney charges roughly the same as online will-writing software for simple wills and provides more peace of mind.
Writing a will yourself costs $0 to $20 for simple online forms or $100 to $250 for will-writing software. This option is best for basic wills with no minor children or complex assets. DIY wills carry the risk of not conforming to local probate laws, which may result in a loss of assets for your beneficiaries.
You will need to bring a variety of financial and legal documents to your attorney, which will vary depending on your situation and number of assets. These documents may include:
Your attorney can be the executor of your will, depending on state or local laws, but it is not required. Many attorneys are unable to be a trustee or executor because of ethical reasons or a conflict of interest. Instead, clients can choose a trusted friend or family member to make sure their will is followed after death.
An attorney can write a will from another state, as long as they know and follow the laws of the state you live in. Local probate laws tend to vary, so you may want to change or update your will if you move to a new state. If nothing else, check your current state's laws to make sure your will conforms to them.
Someone with power of attorney does not have the authority to change or override a valid will. Power of attorney gives someone the permission to make financial decisions or manage health care, depending on how much power you give them. However, the only person that can make changes to a valid will is you.
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