Here’s How Much You Should Budget to Make a Will


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Ensuring your assets are properly distributed after you’re gone is a crucial part of estate planning, and creating a will is often the first step in making your wishes known. You can choose to write a will yourself or hire a reputable attorney to draft one for you, but the expense will vary significantly depending on the route you take. 

Below, we’ll detail the average cost to write a will — both yourself and with a lawyer — and outline the cost factors to consider when budgeting for this task.

Cost of Making a Will With a Lawyer

Average cost: $300 – $1,500 flat fee or $200 – $500 per hour

If you choose to hire an attorney to draft your will for you, they’ll charge either an hourly fee or a flat fee. The average cost of making a simple will is around $300 but a price closer to $1,000 or more is common if you have a complex estate or you require additional forms. The area where you live and the experience of the attorney you hire will also affect how much lawyers charge for wills.

For some, it may be worth finding the right legal help to ensure your wishes are carried out, even if it costs a bit more. A probate or estate planning attorney can also update your will as needed and aid in any legal proceedings, should the need arise.

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Will Yourself?

You can make a will yourself as long as you take the necessary steps to legalize your will after drafting it. Depending on the DIY route you take, you’ll pay up to $300 or so to use an online will maker. There are several ways to write a will for free, including using a free will template you buy online or writing a handwritten will. 

Using Paid Online Will Makers

Average cost: $30 to $300

Online will software and estate planning tools are paid software programs that will walk you through the process of creating your own will (or trust). These can cost anywhere from $20 to $200 and up. Programs that guide you through the process fall at the higher end of this price range, and you may pay closer to $300 if you want to create documents as a couple.

Paid will software allows you to handle most of the leg work yourself, but would feel more comfortable with some assistance. Many of these programs offer attorney support for an added fee but keep in mind that a DIY approach won’t be the best option if you have unique circumstances. Even if you use an online willmaker, you’ll still need to ensure you take the necessary steps to communicate all the important details and execute your will according to state guidelines.

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Writing a Will Yourself

Average cost: $0 – $50

One of the quickest and most affordable options for creating a will is using printable will templates you download online. These DIY will templates are often provided in PDF format, so you can fill out the form with your own information. Companies like FreeWill and Do Your Own Will offer basic free will templates, but they are best for those who need a simple will with little customizations. Other online will companies offer drafting services you can pay for with a subscription or a la carte per form download.

Another way to write your will for free is to do a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will. Writing your will by hand may seem like an easy and affordable option, but most estate attorneys don’t recommend it, as they can be hard to prove legally, and some states don’t allow them.

Will vs. Trust

Creating a trust will cost more than a will, about $150 to $600 or so if you use online software or $1,500 to $3,000 or more if you hire an attorney.

As part of estate planning, you’d create a will to instruct what you want to be done with your assets and property after you die. Trusts are separate legal entities you can set up to ensure that your assets go to your chosen beneficiary. To set up a trust, you must open an account and put the assets in the name of the trust. Then, you’ll name a “trustee” to distribute those assets as you wish.

Talk with your financial advisor or an estate planning attorney to decide which legal entity is best for securing your legacy.

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