How Much Does it Cost to Write a Will?

By Carrie Ferland

By establishing a will, you can ensure that your loved ones are cared for after your death, that your assets are distributed to your chosen beneficiaries, and that your final wishes are carried out exactly as you intend. Unfortunately, the anticipatory cost of hiring an attorney to draft a will often intimidates testators from establishing a will at all. In fact, there are many cost-effective solutions for writing a will yourself that allow you to plan for your family after your passing without forcing you to spend thousands of dollars.

By establishing a will, you can ensure that your loved ones are cared for after your death, that your assets are distributed to your chosen beneficiaries, and that your final wishes are carried out exactly as you intend. Unfortunately, the anticipatory cost of hiring an attorney to draft a will often intimidates testators from establishing a will at all. In fact, there are many cost-effective solutions for writing a will yourself that allow you to plan for your family after your passing without forcing you to spend thousands of dollars.

Writing a Will Yourself

The least expensive way to prepare a will is to write it yourself. Using free samples you find online or following others relatives’ wills as a guide can help you form your own without forcing you to spend any money. If you are unfamiliar with your state probate laws, however, writing your own will without assistance could end up being the most costly decision of all. If your will is ruled invalid during probate, for example, the court will divide your assets following governing succession laws and your intended beneficiaries could be left with nothing.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Using Pre-Made Forms

Pre-made forms for do-it-yourself wills are now widely available both online and off; in fact, some of these resources are available at no cost. While it isn’t quite the same as hiring a professional, a pre-made form can help you create a no-frills will that meets your state probate guidelines without exceeding your budget. Sample forms can cost at little as $10 to $20 for a basic will, while complete fill-in-the-blank templates average around $100 to $500, depending on the complexity of your personal circumstances.

Using Software

Will-making software is also widely available for those who want more control over creating their wills. Will-making software costs only a bit more than pre-made forms, and you can use the software repeatedly to add amendments or start over from scratch. New software can cost you around $100 to $250, or you can purchase an older version for around $20 to $50. Be careful when purchasing out-of-date software, however, as it may not adhere to the most recent applicable laws and your will could be ruled invalid after your death.

Retaining an Attorney

Hiring an attorney to draft a will for you is usually one of the more expensive options, but it is not quite as costly as many believe. For a simple estate, a basic will could cost as little as $100 to $150 for an attorney to complete — about the cost of a pre-made form — including your consultation and final review. The more complex your assets or circumstances, the more an attorney will charge for the service. You can expect to pay up to $5,000 for an estate with significant assets. Remember, though, that you are not simply paying for the will itself; you are paying for the benefits of having a qualified expert evaluate and protect your estate.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will?

References

Related articles

Do-It-Yourself Living Trusts & Last Wills

A living trust transfers control of your property to a trust while you are alive. You may serve as trustee; a successor takes over after you die. A will takes effect after you die; an executor administers the distribution of your estate. Many people consider do-it-yourself forms or online software programs to draft their own living trusts and last wills. It may be possible to construct a valid document that distributes your estate according to your wishes. However, experts generally agree that beyond the most uncomplicated circumstances, saving money with a do-it-yourself-will or trust may produce unintended, detrimental consequences.

What Is the Average Cost to Prepare a Living Trust?

When considering an estate plan, many people contemplate whether a trust is necessary or a will alone is suitable. The choice is often based on cost. Depending on whether an attorney is hired, a trust can be considerably more costly than a will. The key is finding a balance between cost and creating an estate plan that fits your family’s needs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing Wills Online

You can privately prepare your will online through a will preparation website, but whether or not online will drafting is right for you depends on your financial and personal circumstances. An attorney may be needed to prepare your will and review the document for accuracy and compliance with your state's legal standards, especially if you are providing for the guardianship of minor children.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

The Average Cost of Making a Will

The cost of any legal endeavor depends on whether you decide to handle it yourself or use the services of an attorney. ...

How to Create Last Wills

Many still neglect the one document that is, arguably, the most important of their lifetime: their last will and ...

Cost of Making a Will

Thousands of people pass away each year without leaving behind any formal instructions for administration of their ...

What Does a Simple Will Cost?

A “simple will” means different things to different people. If you’re not a legal professional, you ...

Browse by category