How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

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How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

Post by novembre » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:13 pm

We are a couple in our late seventies, with two grown children who will inherit our estate equally. We plan to engage an attorney to revise the very simple wills we made years ago, and we're wondering how much we should expect to pay for this in suburban Philadelphia.

Our assets will consist of only bank accounts, IRAs, and investment accounts. We plan to sell our home shortly and move into a retirement community, so there will be no real estate to deal with. So what can we expect an attorney to charge us for these wills?

Should we also ask the attorney to draw up other documents such as "power of attorney", medical directives, etc?

Is it wise to appoint an attorney to be the executor, or leave that to one of our children? Neither of them is very qualified to do this, and since our estate is quite large, 3M+ at this time, I feel that this expense might be worthwhile....but I'm not sure. What can we expect to pay for this?
And what is the best way to find a good lawyer for this work?

Any help most appreciated!


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Re: How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

Post by prudent » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:51 pm


I couldn't guess what the right amount to pay is. But I would strongly suggest getting the other documents prepared. Those can be extremely valuable for your family.

Regarding the executor, I found a link to a website that discusses executor fees in PA. ... nsylvania/ . Having a child as executor need not mean they have to know everything - they can retain an attorney as needed which would be paid out of the estate. From looking at the fee schedule in that link, it seems likely that having one of your children pay an attorney by the hour could be a lot cheaper than going by that fee schedule (which is not mandatory, but suggests what would be considered OK by the court). A $3 million estate could have a fee of around $70,000. I think one of your children serving as executor could get all the help needed on an hourly basis for a lot less than that given your estate will have no complex assets to handle (no real estate, valuable collectibles, artwork, etc.). I'm assuming that having one of your children serve would be acceptable to all.

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Re: How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

Post by bengal22 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:56 pm

As long as the kids get along, being an executor is really not that difficult. Especially if you have your investments set up as beneficiaries or TOD. I helped the wife with my FIL's estate and it included a car, house, little stock, and bank accounts and it was very simple. I do not see a need for lawyers unless you want to have some of your estate go to them.
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Re: How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

Post by delamer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:55 pm

Are you aware that Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax that will be imposed on whatever money your children inherit?

I'd find a qualified estate attorney who can advise you on minimizing that tax and other issues for an estate of your size. And yes, you need to provide for power-of attorney, medical directives, etc.

You could ask friends for recommendations for attorneys. If you have a relationship with a bank trust department or financial advisor, they might be able to suggest someone.

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Re: How much to pay for a simple will in Philly area?

Post by bsteiner » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:48 am

If your children are sufficiently responsible that you're considering leaving $3 million to them outright, then (assuming they get along) they could probably handle the job of executors, with the help of lawyers and accountants as needed.

You may wish to consider providing for them in separate trusts rather than outright, with each one effectively controlling his/her trust. That will keep their inheritances out of their estates for estate tax purposes, and will better protect their inheritances against their creditors and spouses.

There isn't much you can do about the Pennsylvania inheritance tax except perhaps making large gifts of high basis assets or moving to another state.

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