Ph. 404.348.4462 | Fax 404.549.6765 | P.O. Box 922873, Norcross, GA 30010

How much does a will cost?

Our will packages start at $390 for individuals, $435 for couples. Call us to set up an appointment.

Why should people have wills?

A judge decides who gets your stuff and who becomes guardian of your child if you die without a will.

This is called dying intestate. It is complicated and expensive. While there are rules—a judge can’t just give away your assets to anyone, or make anyone you child’s guardian—the intestate process is time consuming and burdensome on those you leave behind.

Wills avoid this. When you have a will, a probate court must abide by your wishes when dividing your assets or appointing guardians for your children. Probating often takes less time and less money than going through the intestacy process, and it ensures your wishes are followed.

Trusts go one step further than a will—it avoids the court process altogether. Your assets are held in the trust. This means those assets are not held in your estate and cannot be transferred through the probate process. This saves time, money, and the energy of those you leave behind. However, trusts cost more money up front to create, and they cost time and money to maintain.

What you should have in your will

Everyone’s will should be different, as everyone’s life situation is unique. However, there are some general guidelines—each will should contain certain elements.

1. An executor.

A will should name who will be in charge of distributing your assets after you die. This person will also be in charge of ensuring any bills or debts you owe are paid.

2. Devises—or asset distribution.

The next thing your will should have is a list of who gets what. This can be very general—”all my stuff to X”—or very specific—”my antique table to X.” Generally husbands leave everything to their wives, and wives leave everything to their husbands, but your circumstances may differ. (This often changes when there are children from previous marriages. In those cases, a husband or wife might not choose to have all their assets go to their new spouse.)

3. Guardians for minor children (and a minor trust).

If you have minor children, your will should also include a list of guardians you wish to be appointed for your children. It should also include a list of general instructions for appointing guardians in case your chosen guardians are unavailable. Finally, your will should include a trust to hold any property or money you wish to go to your children. Otherwise, a court-appointed conservator may end up in charge of the money instead of the children’s guardians (or someone else you feel is appropriate).

4. Self-Proving Affidavit.

Finally, the last of the essential elements of a decent will is the self-proving affidavit. This isn’t actually part of the will itself. Instead, it is an affidavit signed by the maker of the will and the two people witnessing the will’s signing. A self-proving affidavit is important—without it, someone trying to probate a will must try and find the witnesses to the will.

This can be a problem because, hopefully, you will have a long life and those witnesses will not be easy to locate. Witnesses can leave jobs, move out of state (or country!), or even die. All the person seeking to probate the will needs is an affidavit that looks like this one, so getting the affidavit done and out of the way up-front can save a lot of time and money in finding witnesses.

5. Other information.

You may also include other information in your will. For example, you can include information on how you wish your remains to be handled. Do you wish to be cremated? Buried in a coffin? Buried more naturally? Cryogenically frozen? (Don’t laugh too much, it does happen!) If cremated, do you wish your ashes to be spread anywhere? Including these wishes in a will increases the likelihood of them being followed.

How can I learn more?

Schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney about what type of will solutions will work best for you—give us a call.