The Care of Our Child is Left to . . .
February 24, 2010 10:33 AM Subscribe
What is a reasonable cost for setting up a will?
posted by zizzle to law & government (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We have no major assets. Just your standard checking and savings accounts with little to no money in them. I have some savings bonds that haven't matured yet, and I think my husband has a small stock or two with dividends of less than $1. So basically, we just want to set up a, "Here's where our son should go and how he should be cared for. If those people are unable or unwilling to do so, he should go with these people. Appropriate numbers and addresses" type will. It really doesn't seem like it should be all that involved, but I am not a lawyer. Yes, neither are you, likely.
I've called around to a couple of agencies and even solo practitioners, and the cost I'm being quoted is something like $300 - $500 for the consultation and upwards of $400/hour for preparing the letter. It seems crazy to me to spend $1000 on this. It makes sense if we had a bunch of stocks, bonds, and other major assets that may require greater understanding or handling, but we don't. I was told these prices even after I explained what we were looking for.
We thought we might be able to just write up our wishes, make copies, have all the copies notarized and give a copy to the appropriate people to hang on to. But it seems on further reading this wouldn't necessarily hold up in court as well as a lawyer done will should our relatives decide to get all crazy and contest it.
So it seems that we may, in fact, need a lawyer, but do we really need to pay $1000 for one? I think we could reasonably afford about $600 overall and that might be pushing it. I mean, mostly we really want something legally in place for what should happen to our son and the people who we asked to take him and people we asked to him in the event those people can't are all on board and understand their roles and position in this. So given that we pretty much have everything set up to have a will made, how much is reasonable to pay?
And I've asked friends for references. I've looked at the find-a-lawyer wiki for the low cost section, and I can't seem to locate either legal aid or a law school clinic in the area that deal with estate planning.
(Bonus points if you can refer me to a reasonably cost T&E lawyer in the Greater Boston area.)