Making a will doesn’t have to cost a fortune—Here’s how to make estate plans on a budget

Yes, everyone—even you—needs a will.

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If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. A study by Caring.com, an online resource for senior care, found that nearly 60 percent of American adults are without estate planning documents.

Having a will can help protect your family, but you may believe that the cost is more than you can afford. Fortunately, there are affordable and easy ways to plan your estate.

Do You Need a Will?

Perhaps you are unsure whether you really need one. You might not own real estate or have children, but chances are good there are people and objects that matter to you. Having a will allows you to appoint someone who will make sure your final wishes are carried out. If you should pass away without a will in place, everything will be left to the court to decide.

Also, don’t forget to include your pets in your will!

Assess Your Needs

Consider various aspects of your unique situation. Do you have your own business, a home and young children? You may require the expertise of an attorney to ensure that your will is written correctly and your estate is in order.

Alternatively, if you are a young, single renter, you can probably get by using online software that walks you through the steps of writing your own will.

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Affordable Options

Depending on the complexity of what you need in a will, a lawyer may charge anywhere from $300 to $1200 (or more) to write it for you. If you can find an attorney whose services you can afford, this may be the best choice.

However, if a lawyer simply isn’t in your budget, you do have some affordable alternatives, such as the following.

  • DIY wills online. There are a number of reputable sites where you can create a will for as low as $20.
  • Your local library. Many public libraries offer free legal forms, including simple wills.
  • Legal aid. The American Bar Association offers free and reduced-rate services to people with low incomes or special circumstances. Even if they are not able to assist you, they may be able to direct you to other affordable resources.

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