Who Wants Free Estate Planning?

November 14, 2006

How much would you expect to pay for a good attorney to draw up your will?

Free Beats Expensive, Any Day
The various price quotes I received for simple estate plans several years ago were what delayed me from taking action on this important financial planning step. Luckily, before I decided to bite the bullet and shell out some cash, a good friend of mine let me in on the secret of how to get a quality estate plan for FREE!

Expert Advice
My friend was studying law at a nearby university and was enrolled in an estate planning course. His instructor was an expert in Probate and Estate Planning, with 17 years of experience and a leader in his field, locally and across the state. The focal point of the class was that each student had to go through the full process of creating a will for a client.

Free Will!
Here’s the exciting part for you and me. In order to give the future attorneys real world experience, the university offered a program where people in need of a will could sign up to work with one of these students. By the end of the course, you would have a customized will for your family, free of charge! Of course donations to the law school were accepted but as a young couple my wife and I didn’t have much money to donate.

Get What You Pay For?
You may be apprehensive about a will drawn up by a student. Maybe you’ve gotten a cheap/free haircut by beauty school trainees and realized afterwards you got what you paid for. Never fear, the difference here is that the instructor reviews each plan many times over.

Estate Planning Process
The student goes through the estate planning process of determining your assets, your beneficiaries, your wishes for incapacitation (think Terri Schiavo), dependent guardians, etc. Multiple drafts of the will are drawn up; the instructor reviews each and sends them back for revisions until satisfactory. The culmination is a final meeting with your family, the future attorney, and the instructor where you review the will and make it official.

HUGE Savings
How much do you think I would have paid to hire this experienced expert attorney to draw up our will? I don’t know, I was afraid to ask, but I’m sure it would have been a large percentage of my total net worth at the time.

Things to Consider
Keep in mind this approach is advisable only if it’s a well-established law program and the course is taught by an expert. However, creating a will is advisable, whether it’s free or not. I don’t know how ours will turn out since I’m not dead yet, knock on wood, so stay tuned to this site at least for the next 70 years and my heirs will let you know.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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