Having a simple will can prevent a number of problems in the future, including custody issues, providing gifts to non-children and generally ensuring your wishes are carried out after you’re gone. Though the costs to meet with a lawyer and prepare a will can range depending on your needs, a simple will doesn’t have to be expensive. Knowing what sort of legal documentation you need and how much it costs to prepare with an attorney is important before you decide to proceed.
The average cost of a living will that doesn’t include factors like a trust or deal with federal estate taxes is about $375 when prepared by an attorney.
What is a Simple Will?
A simple will, just as it sounds, is less complex than others. It permits you to name your beneficiaries, determine how your property is split among your surviving heirs and designate a guardian for your children. It may be the right choice for you if you are under the age of 50, have no children from previous marriages, don’t expect anyone to contest the will or have few assets. In some instances, you may be able to write this sort of will yourself. Note that a simple will does not avoid probate, defined as the process of officially proving the validity of a will and distributing assets to pay off debt. There are fees associated with probate, which some estimate to average $2,000.
A complex will, on the other hand, requires the expertise of an attorney. A complex will may be right for you if you own a business, have a previous spouse, wish to create a joint will or if you’d like to set up a trust.
Average Cost of a Simple Will
The average cost of a living will that doesn’t include factors like a trust or deal with federal estate taxes is about $375 when prepared by an attorney. More complicated documents may be over $1,000. If you decide to prepare a will yourself using a legal website, you should expect to spend more along the lines of $100. As such, the cost of a will in Florida may vary significantly depending on your personal circumstances and the preparation method you decide to take.
Is a Handwritten Will Legal in Florida?
In the state of Florida, a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator (the person whose will it is) but not by any witnesses is not valid. This sort of document is known as a holographic will, and Florida does not recognize these. However, a handwritten will that is signed and witnessed is considered an attested will, and is valid under Florida’s laws. Oral wills are also not valid in Florida.