Saturday, January 23, 2010

Should you do your own will or use an attorney?

While 98% of my practice is serious injuries, accidents, nursing homes, medical malpractice and disability, I have always helped people with wills and the other documents related to that. I warn parents of minors that they need to specify guardians to raise the children to avoid custody battles.

I offer a package that includes: 1) Last Will & Testament; 2) Living Will; 3) Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare; 4) Durable General Power of Attorney, for each person, that is 8 documents, with copies and notarization, etc. for $595.00 per couple.

That price was many struck years ago when an acquaintance was charged over $600 for simple wills in Memphis, and I said, "Man I would have done all you needed for that at one time." I have just never gone up.

You are free to use internet forms or bought forms, just like you are to do your own deeds in a closing, set up your own financial planning, and diagnose your own illness with internet resources, obtaining pills directly from the web. (Saves you a doc's visit and fees, I guess.)

However, I did a little probate way back as a baby attorney and can tell you if you wind up broke, or all is unusually smooth, then fine, you saved like $350! But, due to your drafting, If there is but one simple question that needs to be researched or discussed in court at all, that $350. you "saved" will be eaten up in fees in probate, along with more (all that money is shunted from your heirs).

Additionally, there is value to a lawyer's counsel and questions being answered. It's not primarily forms attorneys sell. I encourage you to seek an attorney and not do it yourself, wherever you go. "A lawyers time and advice are his stock in trade" ~Abraham Lincoln

Just my two cents worth.

David B. Peel, Attorney at Law