Is a Will Worthwhile?

Friday, August 14, 2020

    Some people wonder whether a Will is worthwhile, and worry about the cost.

    Others wonder why they need a Will at all.

    Taking the issue of cost first, it is important to remember that after you die, unless you have nothing to probate, you will likely need to do a probate, and that one of the significant costs of probate can be the cost of a bond for the executor or personal representative.

    If you do not have a Will, in most cases the law will require that a bond be posted in court.

    The cost of a bond can equal or exceed the price of a Will.

    Usually, when a person does a Will they also do other estate and incapacity planning documents, like an Advance Directive for Health Care (sometimes called a Living Will in other states), a Nomination of Guardian and Conservator, a Testamentary Trust to be incorporated into the Will, a Power of Attorney, a document designating a particular person to make funeral arrangements, and sometimes even a Revocable Living Trust.

    These other documents will be discussed in other posts.

    The savings in probate of the cost of the bond may or may not equal the cost of a complete estate and incapacity plan including all of the other documents above, but it may well offset the cost of a Will alone, and it may well be even a greater saving than that.

    If your estate is valuable enough, the offset of not having to have a bond may even equal or exceed the cost of the entire estate plan.