How Much Does A Will Cost In 2024? – Forbes

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A last will and testament is one of the most important estate planning documents that you can create. This document allows you to control your legacy by determining who inherits your money and property. You can also include clauses that specify who should take care of your children if you pass away before they reach adulthood, and even who should get custody of your pets after your death.

It’s important to make your wishes known before something happens to leave you incapacitated and unable to determine who inherits your assets. So, the big question is, how much does a will cost in 2024 and what is the process for creating one?

How Much Does a Will Cost?

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The cost of making a will can vary depending on the process that you use to create this legal document. Here are some of the different prices you can expect to pay.

Making a Will Yourself

Average Cost: $0

You are allowed to create this document yourself on your own without using a template or getting any type of legal help. You could type and sign the forms, or you could even hand write it. This is called a holographic will. Obviously, if you simply write up your own instructions, this is free.

Unfortunately, this is not the best approach. You could leave out important clauses or end up drafting a document that is not enforceable where you live. You could also make mistakes in the way you provide instructions. And there’s a much greater chance that a successful challenge could be raised after your death that results in the court invalidating your estate plan.

Using Free Online Templates

Average Cost: $0

Using a free online template is another option available to you. There are many different templates that you can access that you can fill in with your information and some of those do not cost you anything to use.

Again, however, this approach is often not the right one. You’ll need to know how to fill out the forms properly and make sure you’re complying with your state’s laws and avoiding drafting errors. Your forms may also not be comprehensive enough to address the specific issues that could arise.

Using Paid Online Estate Planning Tools

Average Cost: $8 to $50

There are also templates you have to pay for as well as paid software programs you can access that will walk you through the process of creating your documents. These can cost anywhere from a few dollars to around $50 and up. Software programs that guide you through the process generally come in at the higher end of this price range.

This can be a better approach to trying to do the process yourself since you do get a little more assistance. However, it’s still not the best option in many situations. These programs are generic and not specific to your situation, and it is still possible to make mistakes or leave out important details.

Getting Help From an Estate Planning Attorney

Average Cost: $300

Attorneys can provide assistance with drafting a comprehensive estate plan that includes a last will and testament. The average cost of having a lawyer draft your document is around $300 but you could pay much more or pay less depending on where you live, the complexity of your situation and the lawyer that you select.

Some attorneys charge on a flat-fee basis, which means you pay a set price for the creation of your will. Others will charge hourly, with the typical hourly rate coming in between $200 to $350 although newer attorneys and those in inexpensive areas may charge less while experienced lawyers in high cost of living areas could charge more.

While the costs of getting professional help can be higher than making a will on your own, it’s often worth paying for a lawyer to assist with the process. An attorney can help you to create a comprehensive plan using all of the estate planning tools necessary to secure your legacy. Your lawyer can also assist in making sure your forms are enforceable, your instructions are followed, and there are no mistakes in the drafting process that could cause problems later.

How to Find the Right Estate Planning Attorney

When you make the choice to hire a lawyer to help you prepare for your future and provide for your heirs, you don’t want to focus on price alone. Remember, it will be too late to undo mistakes or correct problems once you have passed away and your estate goes to probate. So, you need to find a professional you can trust to help.

Of course you need to be sure you can afford the hourly fee. But you’ll also want to find out about your attorney’s experience and make sure the person you are working with is someone you are comfortable talking to about the intimate details of your life and finances. By getting the right legal help, you can ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much do lawyers charge for wills?

Attorneys may charge an hourly fee or a flat fee. The average cost of making a simple will is around $300 but your forms could cost more or less depending on the complexity of your estate, the area where you live and the experience of the attorney you hire. It’s important to find the right legal help, even if it costs a bit more, as you don’t want to make mistakes that won’t be discovered until after your death when it is too late to correct the issues.

Is it worth hiring a lawyer to make a will?

It is worth getting a lawyer to help with all aspects of your estate plan. You don’t want to end up with a plan that doesn’t fully address what happens to your assets or appropriately provide for the care of your loved ones. And you don’t want to make mistakes in creating your documents that result in your wishes not being respected. An attorney can help you to facilitate the timely, efficient transfer of assets to secure your legacy.

Do I need a will?

Most people need to create a will in order to determine who will inherit their assets and in order to accomplish important things like naming a guardian for minor children in case they pass away before children are grown. While you can use other estate planning tools instead, such as trusts, these can be more complex. You should talk with a lawyer to determine what forms and documents should be created to help secure your legacy.

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