The Average Cost of Making a Will

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

The Average Cost of Making a Will

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

The cost of making a will essentially boils down to the complexity of your estate and whether you opt for the services of a lawyer. If a person's estate is worth millions of dollars, it is probably a good idea to retain an attorney, which increases the cost.

Blonde woman in glasses typing on laptop while sitting on couch

To decrease the cost of making a will, you always have the option of drafting one on your own. As long as the document meets the state requirements for a valid will, there is no obligation to hire an attorney.

Why Drafting a Will Is Important

When a person dies, a will ensures that the deceased's last wishes are honored and their estate is distributed as they would have liked. If a person dies intestate, or without a will, the estate is distributed according to a state's intestacy laws, which might be at odds with how the deceased actually wanted their estate distributed. Writing a will avoids these problems.

Hiring an Attorney to Draft a Will

If a person's estate is particularly complex or worth a lot of money, it is always a good idea to hire an attorney who specializes in estate planning, who can help ensure that the will is valid and properly executed. The attorney can even draft it in such a way that the estate avoids probate, a process that often delays the distribution of the assets.

Attorneys typically charge a minimum of $150 to $600, with the average cost being about $375. This fee generally covers a basic draft and could increase if any issues or complications arise. Attorneys may also charge extra for services such as power of attorney and other estate-planning documents.

Drafting a Will Yourself

Writing a will yourself is the least costly option. A number of templates are available on the internet that you can download for a nominal fee. The benefit of using a template is that it meets state guidelines and costs a fraction of what an attorney might charge. However, templates are often very generic and so may not conform to your particular situation.

Sample templates can cost as little as $10 for generic forms or hundreds of dollars for more comprehensive packages.

Using an Attorney as a Consultant

A third option is to draft the document yourself and have an attorney review the final product to ensure it meets all of the state's requirements for a valid will. This is a combination of the two options described above, so the cost of choosing this option varies.

No matter what option you consider, do not let the price of drafting a will deter you from making one. There are enough options available to fit a variety of price ranges and the benefits of having a will far outweigh the costs of being without one.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.