Last Will and Testament

All estate plans will include a last will and testament. This document will serve as a means to accomplish the property disposition (it may function in conjunction with a trust). Each will needs an executor (who is the person seeing that your wishes are carried out). Your choice for executor should be someone who is responsible and gets along with your recipients. They can elect to be paid for services based on a percentage (at most 4%) of all your property at death. Typically, when the executor is a recipient of your estate, he or she does not elect to take the commission. We recommend choosing a few alternate executors in case your primary executor is not alive or is unwilling to serve as your executor.

For Parents with Minor Children

If you have minor children, your will is an appropriate location for you to nominate a guardian to care for your children if both parents die. A guardian is an individual appointed by the probate court to take legal custody for a minor child and be responsible for the child’s care and finances. Your guardian cannot use the money for his or her own purposes. Rather, with court oversight, that person uses those finances to take care of your minor children.

Why are your wills so expensive when I can get them for cheap on Legal Zoom?

That's a fair question. The answer lies in how technical the law is for wills and other estate planning documents. One silly error in how you execute the documents or how you write the property division can have dramatic effects on what happens to your property after death. The uninformed might even unintentionally disinherit a loved one just by having them witness the document. On top of that, do-it-yourself sources aren't likely to talk to you about your goals and the pros and cons of building your estate plan one way or the other. You pay for what you get. If you have saved and care about leaving your savings to the next generation thoughtfully, it's important to talk to a well-versed estate planner.