How Much Should I Expect to Pay for a Will? Do Lawyers Handle Wills?
You can find many free tools and software programs that attempt to guide you through the will drafting process at minimal cost. However, it is always better to consult a Fair Oaks wills attorney for this critical process. You may pay an attorney more up-front, but in exchange you will have a legally enforceable will that is more likely to help your family avoid as much of the probate process as possible.
“Probate” refers to the legal proceedings that unfold after a person’s death, typically those pertaining to assigning ownership rights of their remaining assets and property. When a person dies without an estate plan, their surviving loved ones must endure the notoriously tedious and stressful probate process. Ownership rights of the decedent’s assets will fall to the beneficiaries designated by California’s intestate succession laws. However, every family has its own unique dynamics, and the family may disagree vehemently with the probate judge’s ruling when it comes to assigning property ownership rights to beneficiaries defined by state law.
With the help of legal counsel from a Fair Oaks wills attorney, you can save your family a tremendous amount of time, money, and stress. An attorney can help you create a clear, concise will that accurately describes your wishes and diminishes the need for probate.
What Type of Attorney Prepares Wills?
An estate planning attorney is a legal professional who specializes in helping clients create their estate plans. This includes wills, trusts, advanced care directives, and durable Power of Attorney designations. If you want to create a will, you need to consult a Fair Oaks wills attorney with solid experience in California estate planning. If you need to change your will after divorce, we also have years of experience in family law and can help you implement the changes you seek.
How Much Do Attorneys Charge to Draw Up a Will?
The cost to develop your will depends on how long it takes the attorney to help you draft the will. Most attorneys charge for their services by the hour. If you have an overly complex estate, it will take a Fair Oaks will attorney more time to draft your will. Before agreeing to an attorney’s services, inquire whether they charge a flat rate for will drafting or if you will pay for their services by the hour. If the attorney has an hourly rate, ask them how much time they expect to require in creating your will. Their answer should give you an idea of how much it will cost to have your will professionally drafted.
What Should My Will Include?
A legally valid will should effectively act as your voice after your death and is an opportunity to make your final wishes clear to your family. There are three main components to a will:
- Real property distribution. “Real” property includes physical real estate property such as houses, commercial real estate, and investment properties. This section of your will outlines who you want to assume ownership of these properties. Whoever assumes ownership of real property also becomes liable for the property, so it is a good idea to create a secondary designation in the event your chosen beneficiary does not want to assume responsibility for your real property.
- Asset distribution. Your assets are other things that you own, such as your bank accounts, vehicles, artwork, family heirlooms, and other items. Most people prefer to leave specific items to specific beneficiaries. For example, if you want to leave your car to your son and your family heirloom jewelry to your daughter, you will include these beneficiary designations in the asset distribution section of your will. You may go into as much detail as you like, or you can leave everything to one or two parties depending on your situation.
- Guardianship designation. If you have minor children at the time of your death, this section of your will would outline your preferences regarding who you want to become your child’s guardian. Typically, the will creator’s spouse is the first choice, but it is possible to customize these designations based on your personal preferences. Bear in mind that the court will need to ensure the guardianship designation you have created suits your child’s best interests.
Along with these important designations, your will should also include your choice of an executor to handle distribution of your estate contents after your death. You can name your spouse, an adult child, or your attorney to assume this responsibility.