How Much Does It Cost to Create a Will?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Will?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

A will is an essential planning document that every adult should have. However, according to the American Bar Association, more than half of Americans don't have one. A will does not have to be complicated and expensive, and it's the only way you can be sure that your wishes will be carried out after you die. Without a will, guardianship of your minor children could be determined by a court, while disposition of your assets could be determined by state statutes.

Woman in orange glasses looking down at documents

Handwritten Wills

A holographic, or handwritten, will is an easy and free way to express your wishes—if you live in one of the states where a handwritten will is valid. The will must be in your own handwriting and you cannot use a typed form. The document should name your beneficiaries and what you are leaving them as well as name a guardian for any minor children. Sign the will. You do not need to have a handwritten will witnessed or notarized.

State Statute Wills

Another free option is to find your state's will form online. Some states provide basic wills on their probate court websites or within the state statutes. Check the website of your local probate court or do an internet search for the form for your state. Once you've located the form, download or print it and fill it in with your wishes. You need to have the will witnessed—most states require two witnesses, but check your own state's requirements—for it to be valid.

Purchasing a Form

If you cannot locate a free form for your state, you can buy a form that is specific to your state from an online service provider. Most forms cost less than $75 if you are filling it out yourself, but you may have to pay more if you require assistance about wording or legal issues. To ensure the product you are getting meets your state requirements, confirm that the form has been approved by your state bar association. In some states, the bar association itself may sell the form you need on their website, which can alleviate any concerns you might have about reliability and legality.

Hiring an Attorney

If you have a lot of questions or just don't feel comfortable writing your will yourself, hiring an estate planning attorney is a good option. The cost, which varies by location and the attorney's experience, may be charged as an hourly rate or as a one-time fee for the documents. Some online service providers also offer legal plans that allow you to get independent attorney advice. Attorneys often offer a single set price for the preparation of a will, powers of attorney, and health care proxies or health care powers of attorney. Married couples are often given a discount, receiving twice the number of documents for less than double the price.

Creating your will is an important step for peace of mind. Once you have your will completed, keep it in a safe place and make sure family members know where to locate it.

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.