How to write a valid will without spending too much

Bala Cynwyd, Pa. - Sept. 22, 2008

Estate attorney Brian Gordon and lawyers like him can charge more than $200 to prepare basic wills, powers of attorney and living wills.

But writing a will is important. If you don't write a will, the state can decide who gets your estate -- and maybe even who cares for your children.

Even though Gordon makes his living writing wills for people, he says downloadable will preparation kits or forms, like "Willmaker Plus," can be a good low-cost alternative.

If your final wishes are straight-forward, you can name a guardian for your children and your estate is less than two million dollars, you can probably prepare a legal will using one of these kits for about $50.

Gordon does warn against interactive will preparation sites --like Legacy Writer or Build-a-Will -- because of the amount of personal information they require you to reveal in cyberspace.

And he says if you're estate's worth more than two million dollars, you will want to see a lawyer.

But even there, you can save money with a free will preparation kit from the American Heart Association.

This kit helps you gather all the information you will need to take with you to the attorney's office. Information like an accounting of your assets, who you want to name as executor of your estate and guardian of your children.

Having this information in advance will save time, and therefore decrease the number of billable hours, at the attorney's office.

To order the American Heart Association's free will preparation kit, click on this link: American Heart Association Will Preparation Kit

A will kit from Find Legal Forms costs $49.95. Here's their link: Find Legal Forms

A downloadable will kit from US Legal Forms is $39.95. Havint the forms mailed to you is $49.95. Here's their link: U.S. Legal Forms

Quicken's Willmaker Plus will cost you $44.99 for a CD with the forms, and $39.99 for downloadable versions. Here's their link: Quicken Willmaker Plus

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