This question of much a will costs is the question I field most often and also one of the most challenging to answer. A Will is not (or at least should not be!) a commodity, and the process of creating an estate plan should not be akin to purchasing a television off a store shelf.

Options for creating a Will include Will-drafting software packages for sale in office supply and box stores (about $30-50), online Will drafting services (about $100), out-of-law-school newbies and some general practice lawyers who can fill in some form documents and churn out a run-of-the-mill, bare bones, basic will for around anywhere from $200 to $500 for a couple.

The trouble with all of these is that if you have any special circumstances or need professional guidance, these will not serve your interests. There are other legal instruments that are often more critical to people than Wills, but without proper guidance, they will not learn that. Furthermore, if you go through the trouble but don’t properly execute the legal instruments, they aren’t worth the paper on which you print them.These options offer little to no legal counselling to help you make the best decisions to accomplish your individual goals and spare your loved ones the hassles of a failed plan.

An estate plan needs to be a living breathing thing that gets reevaluated regularly as your life’s circumstances change to ensure that it is still accomplishing what you want and protecting what’s most important to you. I practice estate planning very differently from most of the other attorneys in the area. I enjoy developing meaningful, lifetime relationships with my clients and provide them an exceptional level of personalized service and professional counselling, all in a very relaxed and friendly way.

I charge neither the least nor the most expensive rates for my estate planning legal services. The temptation for all of us is strong to try to save money by shopping around for the best deal. It is of critical importance, however, to be able to compare apples to apples. I only charge within a set range of flat rate fees from which my clients select once we’ve looked at what they have, what they want to accomplish, and what is most important to them. I can accept credit card payments, set up payment plans, and help make it as affordable as possible. What I do not want to be is, as someone recently put it, the Walmart of Wills. “I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed.” (John Cusack/Say Anything, anyone? Clearly I’m dating myself here.) But seriously, I have no desire to mass-produce shoddy documents at discounted prices without caring about whether that is really what my clients need.

I do want to provide a much higher level of personal service in an ongoing working relationship as my clients’ trusted family advisor. I’ve developed a great professional network of financial advisors and insurance professionals to be able to work as a team to ensure that my clients are taken care of in the best way possible. I have relationships with local real estate agents, bankers, mortgage professionals, and lawyers who practice in other areas of the law, including family and criminal law. It is my pleasure to refer my clients to those other professionals whom I personally know, trust, and to whom I have and would turn again for my family’s needs.

If this sounds like the sort of legal service you want, please call Allinotte Law Office at (613) 933-7720.

Adapted from an article by Danielle G. Van Ess, see the original at http://dgvelaw.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-much-does-will-cost.html.

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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Allinotte Law Office Professional Corporation in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.