Having a will is something that everyone should consider, especially if you want to have the power to determine how your assets will be distributed among your heirs. You can also put provisions into it that establish how you will be cared for at the end of your life or if you become unable to make your own decisions. The average cost of a will and power of attorney documentation depends on several different factors, including the amount and types of assets, and whether you feel that the will is likely to be contested after your death.
Estate Planning Guide Book
In Georgia, if you should die without a will, the state has a set order for determining who gets your assets and how much. The first line of succession is your spouse. Next come your children, who would get a portion of your estate divided equally among them. If there are no children or a spouse, then the court moves on to grandchildren, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and other relatives.
A will is necessary, for instance, if you want to disinherit your spouse and give everything to your children. You also might want to disinherit everyone and give your assets to a charity of your choice. In these cases, a will is necessary to avoid the state of Georgia automatically distributing assets to your relatives. By now, you might be wondering: How much does it cost to make a will and power of attorney?
Cost of Wills and Power of Attorney
What do attorneys charge for a simple will? It is possible to get a simple will for as little as $150, but these are not complex, and you have to be careful about what you are getting. Not all of these options are legal and will meet Georgia's requirements.
Filing fees are determined by each locale and county in Georgia. Many counties have different fees, depending on the type of will and form that is filed. For instance, to file a probate will in solemn form in Cobb County costs $152. There are also additional fees for filing an objection, and a fee of $32 for requesting permission to access the deceased person's safety deposit box. As you can see, drafting the will is only a portion of the expense for filing and executing a will.
If you have complex assets or tax issues or the case involves high dollar amounts, the cost for drafting a will can go up steeply. If you believe that your will might be contested, then you need a professional who specializes in wills, and this cost increases in proportion to the amount of work they have to do. A simple will only takes about 15 hours of work, and most attorneys will charge between $300 to $400. For more complex wills, there is more research involved, and many attorneys who specialize in wills and estates charge between $200 and $266 per hour.
What Kind of Attorney Writes Wills?
In Georgia, any attorney can write a will, and you can also write one yourself or use an online form. The disadvantage to using these latter options is that the documents might not be legal, and you will never know it because you will leave your errors to be sorted out by your heirs. For instance, you must have the proper number of witnesses and certain language in the will, or it will be discounted and the state rules will be applied instead.
Even though it is considerably more expensive, having an attorney who specializes in wills and estates write your will is the best way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out and to save your heirs considerable hassle.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.