Cost of Making a Will

By Carrie Ferland

Thousands of people pass away each year without leaving behind any formal instructions for administration of their estates. This is likely due, at least in part, to the misconception that making a will is a prohibitive expense. In reality, the cost of establishing a will is almost always directly tied to the size of your estate. Most testators with simple estates and nominal net worth can expect to pay as little as $100 for retaining an attorney to make a will, and even less to draft a will themselves. The higher your estate’s net worth, the more you can expect to pay for creating a will.

Thousands of people pass away each year without leaving behind any formal instructions for administration of their estates. This is likely due, at least in part, to the misconception that making a will is a prohibitive expense. In reality, the cost of establishing a will is almost always directly tied to the size of your estate. Most testators with simple estates and nominal net worth can expect to pay as little as $100 for retaining an attorney to make a will, and even less to draft a will themselves. The higher your estate’s net worth, the more you can expect to pay for creating a will.

Making a Basic Will

A basic will is suitable for “simple” estates with less than $1 million in total assets. For the majority who fit this criterion, a basic will is more than sufficient to protect the testator’s interests. You can establish your own basic will using pre-made forms or templates, which can cost around $10 to $150, depending on the services included. Will-making software, which generates a will for you based on your input, can cost around $20 to $100, and you can re-use the software to update your will whenever you need.

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Making a Complex Will

For estates with a combined net worth exceeding $1 million, or with a significant number of assets, a complex will is usually more appropriate. Most “do-it-yourself” services available to consumers are not suitable for complex wills, so it is more advisable to retain an attorney to draft your will. An experienced attorney can draft your entire will for as little as $250, although if you have significant assets or confusing circumstances, you can expect to pay as much as $5,000.

Making a Will with a Living Trust

If you want to establish a living trust along with your will, you can expect to pay significantly more in up-front costs. While your estate does not require funding at the time you establish your will, your living trust does, and you cannot form the trust until you have the assets to do so. On the plus side, your costs are directly tied to the worth of your living trust — if you only intend to form a trust to manage $50,000 in assets, then this is your only expense in addition to the costs you incur establishing your will.

Making a Will as a Business Owner

Business owners can expect to pay about twice the costs of writing a will, depending on the value of their estates. If your business is your only significant asset, for example, a basic will may still be the appropriate choice, so you can expect to pay between $250 and $500 to establish your will. If you own or control multiple businesses, or you hold significant assets in addition to your business, you can expect to pay around $5,000 to $10,000 to retain an attorney to create your will.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How Much Does it Cost to Write a Will?

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Preparing a Will

Planning for the future includes deciding how you want to divide your assets after your death. Wills and trusts outline your financial wishes, and may also provide your descendants and the courts with instructions regarding the guardianship of your minor children or other dependents. Although many companies provide will forms for individuals to complete their own wills, having an attorney review your document will ensure that it meets your state’s legal standards.

Legal Fees & Wills

Among the many concerns attendant to the preparation of your will and the eventual administration of your estate is the issue of legal fees. As is the case with any other type of legal service, attorney fees in connection with matters of wills and estates depend upon a variety of factors.

What Does a Simple Will Cost?

A “simple will” means different things to different people. If you’re not a legal professional, you may think that if you don’t have much property to bequeath, writing a will should be simple. If you ask an attorney for a simple will, however, he will take it to mean that you want to leave everything to your spouse, and when your spouse dies, it passes on to your children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, you might want to leave all your assets to one individual. A simple will means that you’re not dividing your life’s possessions among a multitude of beneficiaries. It has nothing to do with the size of your estate.

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