Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
 
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Expert Q&A Archive

06/22/2009
I would like information on wills and the best place to get them drawn up.
I would like information on wills and the best place to get them drawn up.
Rebecca Schreiber CFP®:
expert info »
When drawing up a will do two things: Learn what goes into one and hire an attorney who specializes in wills. Going online to review sample wills will give you a sense of what information an attorney needs to draft one for you. Go to the American Bar Association and find an attorney in your state who specializes in wills and estate planning. Also ask for a range of fees depending on the complexity of the will to compare costs. Good luck!
Martina A. Jimenez:
expert info »
You should contact an estate planning attorney and visit or talk to them. Try to have at least 3 interviews. This is the best way to do this.

You should get a will, living trust and durable power of attorney. If you have a need for advanced planning, then trusts may be involved!
Jeff Kyle:
expert info »
Definitely have an attorney do it. If you want a great and inexpensive way to do this, sign up for Pre-paid Legal Services!
Delores Lenzy - Jones, CPA, CIA:
expert info »
I would suggest using online templates. They are easy to use and will cut down on costs.
Joan Koonce, Ph.D:
expert info »
The local probate court usually has printed material about wills, as well as information, on their website. In most states, there is also a state probate website that has information. I would suggest using Google to do a search. The information provided will usually have the legal requirements for a will in your state, as well as other basic information. The best place to have a will drawn up is with an estate planning attorney. Although there are web and other resources available for creating wills, if you are not familiar with the laws regarding wills in your state, these resources are not recommended.
Shawn Anderson:
expert info »
It is best to work with an estate planner that knows your state laws. Ask persons you trust for a referral.
Elizabeth Rusnak:
expert info »
Depending on the complexity of the will, there are several sources. http://www.legalzoom.com offers a "do it yourself" option. If your will is complex, consider contacting an attorney that specializes in this service. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and/or Better Business Bureau for the names of attorneys in your area.
H. David Whalen:
expert info »
I would suggest that a will, health directive (in case of incapacitation) and power of attorney (for your bank and investment accounts) are three basic estate planning instruments that would be helpful for you and your family. Because these are specific documents, interviewing two to three estate planning attorneys for your comfort level would be recommended to accomplish your goal.
Gail V. Marquet:
expert info »
You can always consult a lawyer whose fee for a simple single will is about $250-300. You can go to www.legalzoom.com, enter your information, and obtain a perfectly legal will for a fraction of the cost. If you have a large estate or have convoluted legal issues you want to include in the will, you should consult a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates.
Michael A. Masiello:
expert info »
At the risk of sounding silly, wills are legal documents, so a lawyer is the best place [to have one drawn up]. On the chance that [yours is a] small estate or [you are] just getting started, you can look at ideas and samples at a few online sites. legalzoom.com comes to mind as one option for you to get educated; another is investopedia.com--a great site with lots of info. Good luck, Mike
Connie K. Marmet:
expert info »
There are do-it-yourself documents such as those from NoLo Press, but it is best to have an attorney who is experienced in wills and trusts draw them up. General attorneys will draw up wills and trusts, but frequently are not attuned to nuances that can become issues when it is too late for you to be able to address them.
Suzanne Kincaid:
expert info »
Prepaid Legal will draw them up for free and update them every year with a membership. I believe it's only $17 a month in Washington and includes many other benefits with free or discounted quality legal services.

[Editor’s Note: The chapter on “Achieving Financial Security” in the Wi$eUp curriculum contains a section on “Estate Planning Basics,” including Will, Durable Power of Attorney, A Living Will, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, and Letter of Last Instruction.]