My situation is simple, but I know I need a Will. I just phoned a lawyer and they said it would cost $900. I’m a senior, I can’t afford that
We received this call into our customer service group yesterday and it got me thinking about the true cost of the law. Why would a lawyer feel that an appropriate charge for a Will in this situation would be $900? after all, they will almost certainly put some basic information into a software package and generate a simple Will for an individual. They might even try and persuade the senior to name the law firm as the Executor of the Will.
What is a person supposed to do if they can’t afford $900?
Every jurisdiction has seen cuts in affordable law. In Canada the The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada has been a tireless campaigner of affordable law, claiming that the legal system has failed the middle classes by over-charging for simple services. We have recently seen protests in the UK over the plans to cut £220M from legal aid. The protests were made up primarily of our most vulnerable in society. In the US Jim Silkenat, who has just been elected president of the American Bar Association (ABA), warned that there is an enormous unmet legal need among those who cannot afford it, even though there are well over 1 Million lawyers in the US !! Unfortunately, no lawyer in the US is required to offer affordable or pro-bono work.
So the top lawyers in the countries serviced by LegalWills all agree that their legal system is broken. And I would say that trying to charge $900 to write a Will for a senior is symptomatic not only of a broken legal system, but also of a sense of entitlement felt by many people serving in the legal profession. That’s how we end up with situations like this one where “A solicitor has been jailed for stealing more than £200,000 from clients including one who had received compensation for brain damage…..and spent money on luxury cars and cosmetic surgery for his partner.”
This is why so many people are turning to services like those offered by LegalWills.ca, LegalWills.co.uk and USLegalWills.com. For $34.95 in the US and Canada and £24.95 in the UK, you can create your Will in about 20 minutes; using the same software that will probably be used by the lawyers charging hundreds. But with the added advantages of unlimited updates, convenience, and the chance to learn a little bit about the process while you are creating your Will, so you will really understand the contents.
Everybody needs a Will, and it should never be made unaffordable. That’s just not fair.