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Posted: 1/4/2002 4:19:36 AM EST
Guys, I and my wife are hanging out big time since neither one of us have a will. We've talked several times about getting one but haven't taken the first concrete steps. Several months ago, we talked to a lawyer about a will while we were closing on our house and he stated that a normal will costs about $800. I find it very hard to believe that a simple will should cost that much. Therefore, I need to know if there are any on-line sources or tools for developing and recording a simple will for myself and my wife that we can do ourselves, yet still hold up in court. Can you guys help me? Thanks, Merlin
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 4:38:04 AM EST
[url]http://www.nolo.com/[/url]
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 5:52:17 AM EST
Merlin... You are treading on shaky ground. Look at the value of your estate and then compare it to the cost of having a lawyer draft a will for the two of you...I'm sure that you'll find that the cost is miniscule when compared to the total net value of your estate. Wills drafted by hand are OK provided that it is in the writing of the testator AND the state you are in allows Holographic wills to be admitted into probate. Pre-printed forms, in my opinion should be avoided because they can give the layman a false sense of security. Anything not provided for in the will in either a pre-residuary clause or the residuary clause will pass under your states intestacy statute and this might not be your desired result. There are many other benefits that you might get by consulting a lawyer to draft your will, such as the the consideration of all possible contingencies such as catastophies (ie you and your wife,Heaven forbid, both die at the same time in an accident) and tax benefits that you might receive by drafting a will properly (ie avoiding estate or gift taxes). Think about it... Just my .02
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 8:56:01 AM EST
DScott, Thanks for the very helpful web site, its full of really useful info! Scipio, to clarify, I don't want a handwritten will but one that would stand up in court i.e. a typed form. If you read some of the FAQ's at nolo.com, they provide the details of when you need a lawyer and when you don't. The standard process for using a lawyer is for you to show up, tell him you need a will, he hands you a form to hand fill out and then he gives the filled out form to his secretary to put on the formal typewritten form; charging you the whole time. I can fill out a form myself as can my wife. Once filled out, I have no problem having a lawyer look at it to ensure we didn't miss anything. I'm looking to do 90% of the grunt work myself. One down side: Nolo charges for all their forms or for Quicken Lawyer 2002. Anybody know of any free of charge downloadable will forms? Thanks for the help! Merlin
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 9:41:26 AM EST
Why Bother. [;)] because our lovely Govt will take a HUGE chunk of your Estate. j/k on the why bother, but not kidding about the Govt.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 10:10:41 AM EST
Merlin... Many people have negative opinions of the services provided by lawyers, however, any lawyer worth his pay will do much more than have you fill out a printed form that you could buy yourself and then have his secretary fill it out. You seem to have made up your mind as to what is best for you. Good luck...
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 10:52:05 AM EST
Office Depot will sell you a will kit if they are legal in your state. Whether a do it yourself approach is wise only you can know.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 11:23:25 AM EST
Merlin, I am not a lawyer, but I certainly would recommend one when it comes to wills. If your estates worth several hundreds thousand dollars (not hard to reach if you have life insurance), a good lawyer might be able to shelter most, if not all, of it from taxes. Also, the issue of what life sustaining procedures (i.e., mechanical ventilation, tube feeding) you want to be carried out when you are unable to make the decision should be stated unambiguously. This might be difficult with a do-it-yourself kit. In any case, good luck.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 1:32:10 PM EST
Back during the Gulf war the local reserve guys were getting ready to ship out. Part of the process of getting affairs in order included a valid will. Some lawyer who was in the unit told them that a will had to be drawn up by a lawyer, or it could be thrown out. The unit commander called the JAG office in Washington for the official word. The JAG officialy informed him that if you draw up a will, stating clearly what you want, sign it, have it notertized, and have it witnessed by two people, it's valid ANYWHERE. This may only be valid for military personell, but I've been told this is good for anybody, anywhere, in the USA.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 2:45:53 PM EST
FARIS... What you say is most certainly NOT TRUE!!! A handwritten will is only valid in the states that accept Holographic wills! As far as witness requirements, that varies from state to state as well but is usually 2. Furthermore, although most states accept handwritten wills as valid if written by a soldier at war or a sailor at sea, some states hold that as soon as the soldier or sailor returns from the war or sea safely, the will is NO LONGER VALID. This is serious stuff and a little bit of knowledge is truly dangerous...
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