Writing a Will - Collegeville,PA

Updated on May 02, 2011
M.E. asks from Collegeville, PA
11 answers

My husband and I realize we need to write wills to provide for our 2 young children if something should happen to both of us. But as I'm trying to research how to get started, I'm getting more and more confused. Suze Orman recommended on her show that everyone should have a living trust. But that seems like a very costly and time consuming endeavor, and I don't know anyone who has gone this route. We just want to name guardians for our children in the event that we both died, and also make sure all of our assets, life insurance, etc. is used for the benefit of the children until they are no longer minors and can inherit the money. But I don't even know if the will governs what happens to our life insurance. We have our children listed as the secondary beneficiaries. But do we need to change anything because they are minors and I read they can't technicallly get the money? Or is this handled in the will. As I said, the more research I do, the more confused I am. I was thinking a will should be a simple document and was considering Legal Zoom. But now I'm thinking I should contact an attorney. But I contacted 4 attorneys today and got price quotes that ranged by hundreds of dollars. And some wouldn't give a price because they said it depends on what goes into the will. One place said if I need a minors trust, it's 175 dollars a piece additional, so that's an extra 350 dollars on top of the cost of the will. I want this to be done right, but I also don't want to spend a fortune. Any advice would be appreciated. Also, does anyone have a lawyer recommenation in the Collegeville, PA area?

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi M., we must be on the same wavelength...I recently called a few lawyers in the Collegeville area and decided to go with King Laird (on Main Street). They sent me a questionnaire to fill out and then I need to set up an appoinment with an attorney. They told me it would cost about $350 total.

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answers from Kansas City on

Jo G. and I's stories are very similar. We paid $1,200, to an attorney 3-4 years ago for a very similar package; will, revocable trust, health care directive and durable power of attorney.

I would recommend getting an attorney. It will be worth the money in the end.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I live in St Louis, my package cost $1,100. It included a will, revocable living trust, health care directive and durable power of attorney.

The will deals with division of assets only. The trust holds the assets and deals with guardianship. Health care directive deals with end of life decisions and give the holder the ability to terminate life support etc. Power of attorney needs no explanation. All are needed to work together.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm married to a lawyer and we used legalzoom.com.... :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Start off EASY.

Print out a basic will from online that denotes where your assets get distributed, and 2-3 levels of whom shall care for your children (my parents James & Penny Bond, if they are deceased, unwilling, or unable; my Aunt & Uncle Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy; if they are deceased, unwilling, or unable, etc.,

One can also state that under no circumstances are my parents Clyde Barrow nor Bonnie Parker to attain full or partial custody nor guardianship.

State that all your assets are to be awarded to your children.

Sign. Date. Spend $15 and get it notarized.

NOW put aside some money each month, and hire an attorney to do them up proper (with trusts -of various types, education, upon reaching majority, for their upkeep and raising, disbursements, annual payments to guardians &/or executor/executrix etc.)

AKA, better something than nothing... and then lawyer time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Life insurance is governed by contract. You cannot list minors as beneficiaries. However, you can list a Testamentary Trust as the recipient. This is a trust that would be created in your Will (not before) that the life insurance and other assets would pour into and can be used for the benefit of your children. I would highly suggest hiring an attorney. I am an attorney and I did my own and my husband's from scratch (I am NOT a trusts/estates attorney-- I do litigation) and it took me a WHILE to figure out everything that needed to be in the Will. Our wills do a few things: 1) provide guardians in order of preference, if they can serve (we listed 3 options); 2) provides what will happen with our home (it will go to the guardians until the kids are no longer minors and can only be sold with certain limitations and the money can only be used for another home; guardians get the house when the kids graduate college -- as repayment for caring for our kids for so long); 3) creates a testamentary trust for our life insurance to pour into (and we have the testamentary trust listed as our contingent beneficiary on our life insurance beneficiary forms -- we are primary beneficiary on each others); and 4) a few other things that are just common place.

It is likely that a computer program will not give you what you want to create this yourself...but any attorney who is a sole practioner and has done wills before should be able to do one for you that meets the PA requirements...and will likely be less expensive than someone from a larger firm.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We are in the middle of this right now. We hired an attorney to do what Jo G said and I haven't finished the process but I believe it will be just under $1000. UPDATE: we signed yesterday and the cost was $700 for an estate plan .

I did price another local attorney who specializes in this and she wants more like $4K and I couldn't tell the difference really so I figured I'd start here so I have SOMETHING in place and then do more research.

good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

Our financial advisor gave us software called "Family Lawyer" I think it is simple and inexpensive. It might be what you are looking for!



answers from Los Angeles on

I know this isn't local for you, but I have a great resource. Her name is Darlynn Morgan and this is her exact specialty. She frequently has free seminars and presentations about protecting your kids if something happens to you. She also does occasional phone seminars and other types of free consultations. It's definitely worth giving her a call. Tell her K. from CityMommy OC referred you.

Darlynn Morgan

She is really, really good.


answers from Columbus on

To Riley:

I would LOVE my kids to be raised by Bonnie and Clyde rather than that stuffy Mr. Darcy!

I'm glad you postsed this question. Now I'm on a mission too.



answers from San Francisco on

The advantage of a trust over a will is that a trust places all of your assets in a trust and if you die probate is avoided. If your estate goes through probate there are fixed costs such as the attorney fee and executor fee. They are a percentage of the value of the estate. For trusts an attorney will either charge an hourly fee or a flat fee. We just got a quote for a trust, will, etc and the flat fee what $1200 and the other attorney charged $325/hour and estimated 10 hours. So prices vary. I took a paralegal class in wills, trusts, and estates so I have an understanding of the process. We will be hiring an attorney. I would advise against doing something on your own since you have limited knowledge of the process. I view a trust as paying a smaller amount before you die to avoid paying a larger amount after you die. But a trust will cost about $1000-$1500. During the process the attorney will advise you regarding beneficiaries for life insurance, 401k's, etc. Child should NOT be beneficiaries, primary or secondary.

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