Is there a less expensive alternative to a living will? 17 Answers as of October 24, 2013

Due to a recent break-in and theft, my mother's will was stolen. She told me the document cost $1,500 to have a lawyer draft, and it is going to cost another $800 to draft a copy. That's $2,300 for a document. Is there a less expensive alternative?

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
Those fees you quoted seem very high for a will or living will. It should not cost that much unless you are also doing a living trust and other documents. You should be able to execute a will, financial and healthcare powers of attorney and living will for under $500.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/24/2013
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
There is a big difference between a Will and a living Will. A living Will is a set form; a Will is more customized to the individual. If the living Will is lost, it can be replaced at a lower cost; if it is the Will, you will probably have to pay the quoted cost.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 10/21/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You can shop around for a better price than that.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/16/2013
James Law Group
James Law Group | Christine James
Yes - A will should cost around $500 if it is a simple will, and possibly $750-$1,000 if complicated and other documents are drawn up.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/15/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
If its truly a living will?, you can get it on-line, or at a large stationery store for a few bucks.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/15/2013
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C.
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C. | Aaron W. Goren
    Yes, retain the services of a lawyer whose fees are a lot more reasonable.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    That's a very high price.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Your mother is being taken! A will will cost as low as $250 to $400, depending upon its complexity. Contact the local Bar referral service for an attorney to assist her.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    $1,500 for a Will is very expensive. "Living Wills" are not valid in Michigan. Are you talking about a "Living" Trust? If so, $1,500 is much more reasonable. $800 for a copy is excessive under any scenario. You should speak with another attorney about how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    A "living will" is not a Last Will and Testament. It is only an advance medical directive! If you went to the lawyer who originally drafted your Mother's Last Will, you should be able to get a "copy" without charge, as well as anything else in her file. They might charge you for making copies. It should not cost $800 to execute a new copy of the Will, and there should not be a cheaper alternative. I warn you against getting will forms from the internet or the stationery store, or some online will making service.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
    That would seem out of line. She should contact the attorney who drafted the document to see if the attorney has a copy. She could then ask about making arrangements to sign the document again, or if unsatisfied with the pricing for that service take the copy to another probate attorney in your area. $800 to essentially oversee the signing of a document that has already been prepared once is a bit excessive. However, there are situations where this is easily foreseeable such as if the original attorney is no longer practicing or is deceased and the document needs to be completely recreated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    Your mother ought to ask the attorney who drafted the will for a clean copy of the original. If that attorney kept a hard or electronic copy, your mother probably is be entitled under lawyer ethics rules to do so for the copy expense alone. In Michigan, the probate court where she resides will accept wills for safekeeping for a modest one-time fee.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You can get a generic living will form at most hospitals and other health care facilities. However, you state that your mother's will was stolen. If she made any copies of the document, those should still be valid since the original is gone.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    If the attorney has a copy, he can request that your mother come in and execute another original for a nominal fee. If you mother is asking that the will be revised, then the attorney is within his/her right to charge a fee. Each attorney's fee is set by the attorney. Maybe your mother can do some comparison shopping before she executes another original will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Find another attorney that won't charge so much. If your mother has a copy of the original will, that will can be used once the estate is probated. However, the attesting witnesses will have to be available or if the will has a self-attestation clause in it will suffice. Otherwise, you can retain another attorney that won't charge so much for a will.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    That does not sound right. She should contact the attorney who prepared it. They should be able to prepare an affidavit that it was lost/stolen and is still in effect or re-execute the old one for a lot less than that.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/14/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    Find an attorney who will give your mother a better price. Unless the original will was really complex, $800 is a pretty steep fee.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/14/2013
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