Here are some cost-saving options for wills and estate plans:

 

Free consultation: Most estate planning attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation where needs and fees are discussed. They typically charge a flat fee after that, but confirm that.

Comparison shop: Check with two or three lawyers who don’t charge for the initial consultation.

Community education classes. Offered throughout the Twin Cities for about $50 per class, they offer the basics about wills and trusts, health care directives, and power of attorney. Attendees can write their own will in some of the classes, have it signed by witnesses and leave with a completed form. Most are offered in fall, winter and spring.

Software and online forms: Many options exist online, including Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, but the highly regarded favorite is Quicken WillMaker Plus by Nolo ($55, 2016 version). The company updates the software each year, and it includes regulations and laws for each state.

Free service: The Minnesota State Bar Association (www.mnbar.org) has a link on its site for free legal assistance for low income residents at http://tinyurl.com/jgrsvjh. The site also has a link to download a free health care directive form. Wills for Heroes is a free service for first responders in Minnesota (police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, corrections officers, and spouses or widow/widowers of such personnel). They can receive a will, health care directive and power of attorney at no charge. Go to www.mnwillsforheroes.org.

 

John Ewoldt