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$100 for a Last Will and Trust?

Written by Nickel - 5 Comments

The other day I dropped by our insurance agent’s office and, on the way back to the car, I noticed that he’s located directly adjacent to an attorney’s office. So, on a whim, I popped in to get a rough idea of how it would cost to have a will prepared. It’s been over a year since I first wrote about needing to update our wills, and we’re still sitting on our hands.

To be fair, part of the delay was due to our recent relocation — once we knew that we’d be moving across state lines, we thought that it might be best to hold off. But now I’m on a mission…

Our needs are pretty simple — my wife and I just need wills naming each other as beneficiary, naming a guardian for the kids, and setting up a testamentary trust in the event the we both die while our kids are young. When I inquired about ballpark pricing for this sort of work, I learned that he handles simple cases such as ours for just $100 apiece ($200 total). Needless to say, I was a bit surprised by the price… I was expecting to be quoted something in the $500 range.

This all got me to thinking… While I don’t want to cut corners on something as important as a last will and trust and end up with a worthless document prepared by a half-wit, I also don’t want to unnecessarily blow a bunch of money. So am I right to think that $100 is awfully cheap for getting this sort of thing from a real, live lawyer? Obviously, I’ll be checking around with friends and neighbors for recommendations before we settle on a course of action. But never having had these sorts of documents prepared professionally, I’m still a bit uncertain as to how much we should expect to pay.

Another thing that I’ve been looking into is LegalZoom. They offer exactly what we need for just $69 apiece with a $10 discount if your spouse wants a ‘mirror’ will. Here again, I want to be sure this is done right, as opposed to simply selecting the cheapest and/or most convenient option. I’ve heard good things about them when it comes to things like setting up an LLC, but I’ve never dealt with them myself.

Published on July 27th, 2006
Modified on December 9th, 2006 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Planning

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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5 Responses to “$100 for a Last Will and Trust?”

  1. 1
    mark ingle Says:

    I also have been looking but I need a Living trust. I was so glad that my parents had one because we didn’t have to go to probate as with a simple will. That can take up to three years and 10%+ the courts take. I also found legal zoom but then I ran across this site and it looks better, you get the trust and a living will which deals with the DNR for $199. I have to check it out some more first.

  2. 2
    D Says:

    We spent $250 for both of our wills to be drawn up. We had to add a section for a trusty and guardianship for the kids and we made it specific, because of our blended family. So it cost a little bit more. This was from our regular attorney (the one we use for all personal issues). It was a fair price and I feel we got good representation of our wants after our passing. Hopefully this is not for a while and the guardianship was done all in vain.

  3. 3
    Hong Says:

    Make sure you get a medical directive, medical power of attorney, and limited power of attorney documents drafted also. If you are incapacitated to the point where you can not make any financial or medical decisions yourself, this will make your wishes clear as well as relieve some stress on your family.
    With regards to using a lawyer, I would suggest you do that since new laws as well as laws specific to your state may not be in the pre-packaged wills that you can buy online.

  4. 4
    Bri Says:

    Also look in to any legal services your company may offer. I got a legal plan during my last open enrollment for approx $15/month. Then I had a living trust, medical power of attorney, limited power of attorney, and DNR/living will drawn up for no extra co-pay. The only thing I had to pay for was a $13 charge from my county to change the title of my house to the living trust. I’d highly recommend a living trust to avoid probate difficulties.

  5. 5
    Andrew Says:

    I think the price is correct for a simple and straight forward will. If you want a living will or to add more to the will then expect to pay more. You can always ask for current clients he has and talk with them.

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