Happy GoldenThe first time I wrote my will, I paid an attorney several hundred dollars. The second time I wrote my will, I paid an attorney less than $50. I don’t think there was a difference in the product. In fact, I learned some things the second time that I hadn’t known the first time around.

How did I do it? Through a community education course. This one-night session is led by a qualified attorney. The first hour or so is an overview of things to think about. Then you fill out a form that the attorney turns into a will. It’s printed out, signed and witnessed by classmates before you leave the room. The only downside is an hour or so with nothing to do while other participants’ wills are processed.

It’s perfect for me because I have a simple estate–my retirement savings already have designated heirs, my real property is minimal and relatively unencumbered. Obviously this approach wouldn’t work as well if you had a huge, complex fortune and needed trusts and what-not.

The courses are offered by Minneapolis community ed, and a Google search reveals that many other communities have similar courses.

This year, I’ve also signed up for a course to update my health care directive.

So if money was your excuse, or not trusting the accuracy of do-it-yourself technology, you need to come up with another excuse!