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.

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.

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

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 Be careful when purchasing out-of-date software, however, as it may not adhere to the most recent applicable laws and your will could be ruled invalid after your death.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. Start My Estate Plan
Cost of Making a Will


Related articles

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.

Do-It-Yourself Last Will and Testament

Online and do-it-yourself will kits are fast and easy ways to write your will and are considered reliable methods. However, if you choose one of these methods, you must take particular care to ensure that it complies with state law. A single mistake can render the entire will invalid. Do-it-yourself wills are best for people with uncomplicated assets and bequests.

Does a Surgeon Have to Tell You to Do a Power of Attorney If You Are to Have Heart Surgery?

If you are scheduled for serious or risky surgery, it is a good idea to discuss the merits of an advance healthcare directive with your physician. One option is a durable power of attorney that authorizes a trusted friend to make decisions on your behalf while you are incapacitated; another is a living will. However, your surgeon cannot obligate you to execute either legal document.

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

Related articles

What is a Will & Trust Kit?

A will and trust kit provides forms and instructions for a person who wants to make a will or create a living trust. ...

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. ...

Pros & Cons of Preparing a Will Online

The proliferation of online will preparation services has helped more people create wills at substantially lower costs ...

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will?

If you've decided to make a will, but you’re not sure how to go about creating it, you have two options: you can either ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED