Hi, Lorie Burch here, your go to Wills & trusts attorney. We’re often asked, understandably, how much does it cost to get a Will. But the real question SHOULD be what is the cost of NOT having a Will?
The cost of not having a Will boils down to three main problems: mo money, mo time, and no choices.
Mo money: without a Will, your assets are likely to have to go through a probate court process called a determination of heirship where the court will appoint an attorney ad litem to research your heirs to report back to the court, and all your family members will have to agree to who can serve as the executor.
Now you don’t have to understand what all that means, but does it sound cheap? NO! This can easily cost $5,000 – $10,000 or more!
The cost of NOT having a Will also means Mo time: Where do I start here? With a Will, it typically only takes a few months to sort things out, even less with a living trust. Without a Will? You are looking at several months, if not years, to get everything sorted out, even for simple estates where there may just be a home and some bank accounts. AND the court not only requires the involvement of your family members, but it also requires that at least two of your friends, have to testify that they knew you, knew your marital history, your children, your assets, and your debts. Not the most convenient or quickest way just to make sure your house or bank accounts go to the right people.
Finally, the biggest cost of NOT having a Will is you get no CHOICES! You know my saying: If you don’t have a Will…
The court will determine everything for you, how your assets are distributed, the guardians of your kids, who will oversee money for them if they are underage. And the only people the court can choose from is your relatives, which may not be your first choice AND also means they may be fighting over who will be in control.
Now, we understand what it’s like to be on a budget. But when it comes to who gets your home and money, who will take care of your kids, and who will ensure your legacy, you CAN’T AFFORD NOT to have a Will. This is one of the most important investments of your life. Let us help you understand the value by scheduling a complementary consultation.
And remember: if you don’t have a Will, the state of Texas has one for you!