To Do Or Not To Do With Lawyers

Did you make a promise to yourself this year? I can help if you are still struggling with this question: Do I really need a lawyer to make my will? I’ll answer that question today with a free holiday gift for you.

If you want a lawyer, then hire one who regularly handles wills. But you also want one who knows about the laws that may affect you.

For example, a lawyer can help you with these extra needs:

  • You have extensive real estate holdings. You want some advice on tax and joint ownership.
  • You are going through a separation. You are in a common-law relationship. You’ll want someone who can explain your obligations and duties.
  • You are thinking of disinheriting someone. You want to know the pros and cons of how to go about doing this.

What do lawyers cost to make wills?

When you look for a lawyer, price should not be the most important factor. Would you hire a babysitter, nanny, or house contractor because that person came within your price expectations?

Clearly, there is more involved in hiring a lawyer to make your will. You need to trust their experience, professional reputation and have personal chemistry.

The cost of performing legal work is important, but it’s not the only thing you should consider in hiring a lawyer.

The trouble with price comparisons is that expensive lawyers are not always the best lawyers. Many lawyers compete and distinguish themselves on the basis of price or discounted fees.

A law firm could often offer a very low fee to attract as many clients as possible. Another lawyer quotes you a premium fee to discourage discount shoppers.

Don’t start with unreasonable costs expectations

You must look carefully at the overall package costs. Some firms will not automatically provide you with an itemized breakdown in their fee quote.

Find out what they consider their routine estate planning package.

  • Does it include powers of attorney for you and your spouse?
  • What if you and your spouse did not wish to have identical wills?
  • In case you have difficulties choosing a guardian or lawyer, will you see a law clerk or lawyer for advice?

Your local banker or financial advisor can recommend a list of lawyers. You may want to use their fee quotes as a starting point.

Do not be afraid to ask for a law firm’s written fee quote for preparing wills or estate planning documents.

Lawyer referral Sources

Here is a list of lawyer referral sources you can use to find lawyers:

  1. personal referrals
  2. local bar associations
  3. professional referrals – financial or tax adviser
  4. advertising online and Yellow Pages
  5. free seminars
  6. online checks of law firm websites and qualifications
  7. asking other lawyers

Now that holiday gift I mentioned to help you find a good lawyer. I have a free, special ebook called:

Find the Lawyer You Need: The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Must Avoid

I will continue this discussion in the New Year.

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website,, for more free valuable information.

© Edward Olkovich 2012