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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Will

Will Cost


How Much Does a Will Cost?

 
low costDo-It-Yourself:$10-$60average costMedium: $150 high costHigh: $600+
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  Typical costs:
  • For those with modest assets and only a few beneficiaries, it's possible to create a basic will without an attorney. Nolo Press gives free advice on when a no-frills will is enough, and sells books ($19-$32) or Quicken WillMaker Plus computer software ($50) to help you do it yourself. A number of online services such as LegalDocs.com[1] provide basic forms for $10-$60, some with minimal assistance or review. However, using a one-size-fits-all form for a large or complicated estate might cause problems if not done correctly.
  • Low-income folks who want legal guidance may be able to get free or low-cost assistance through their local legal aid group, student-run legal clinic or state bar association; the American Bar Association[2] lists legal resources for each state.
  • Creating a will can be included in a prepaid legal plan available through your employer, union, credit union or other organization for $70-$400 a year, usually paid in monthly installments for ongoing legal support.
  • Attorneys' hourly rates range from $60-$300, but many lawyers charge a flat fee for a basic will, according to the American Bar Association[3] . For example, a Maryland attorney charges $150 for a simple will leaving the entire estate to one or more persons, with no specific bequests, trust provisions or US estate planning language; the minimum fee for a complex will is $250, billed at $185/hour. A Seattle attorney charges $600 for a simple will; hourly rates are $225 for the attorney and $115/hour for a paralegal.
Related articles: Immigration Attorney, Criminal Attorney, Divorce

What should be included:
  • Nolo Press lists six steps for making a will; the same decision-making process applies whether you create the document yourself or hire help.
  • FindLaw.com lists the seven essentials of a valid will[4] and how to be sure your will is legal[5] .
  • The American Bar Association[6] provides a free 12-chapter online guide to wills and estates (available in book form for $17) which includes information on other options, such as living trusts, living wills and powers of attorney.
Shopping for a will:
  • If you use a book, kit or online service, be sure it has up-to-date information for your state, since probate laws vary.
  • Experts advise having a lawyer help draw up a will if you own a business, if your estate is worth more than $1 million or if you expect a challenge to the will from a disgruntled relative or anyone else. Shop around; ask several different attorneys for their fee schedules for wills. Contact your state licensing agency to be sure the attorney is licensed to practice law in your state[7] .
  • The American Bar Association[8] links to legal resources by state, including free or low-cost legal help, regional bar associations, and referrals to local lawyers.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Overcharged
Amount: $2,500.00
Posted by: Cecelia in Ft. Worth, TX.Posted: June 2nd, 2014 12:06AM
Attorney or Product: AttorneyComplexity:
An updated will and Lady Bird Deed. He wants $1500.00 for the will and $1,000 for the deed.
I think this is high but people are telling me it's the going price. Is that true.
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Updated our will
Amount: $430.00
Posted by: a user in Bellefonte, RI.Posted: March 7th, 2013 05:03PM
Attorney or Product: AttorneyComplexity: 7 beneficiaries
Included 2 meetings with the attorney; Living Will, Power of Attorney, and Will; document preparation to include notary
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Will and Healthcare POA
Amount: $950.00
Posted by: HappyInCLT in charlotte, NC.Posted: May 8th, 2012 06:05PM
Attorney or Product: AttorneyComplexity: Very Basic
Firm: local small law office
This included for each of us a will (quite simple - no trusts or the like) and a healthcare power of attorney (standard NC state forms). Seemed a bit high (billed 4 hours of attorneys time - a few phone conversations, and a meeting with attorney), but probably average for this type of service.
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common will for 2 people
Amount: $25.00
Posted by: FrankinIdaho in boise, ID.Posted: March 15th, 2012 08:03PM
Attorney or Product: attorneyComplexity: modest
Firm: local law office
My wife and I were each able to get a will done for $25 for both.
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simple will
Amount: $200.00
Posted by: jojo1980 in Hackensack, NJ.Posted: May 16th, 2011 02:05PM
Attorney or Product: T.QComplexity:
Firm: Tommy Q
we paid $200.00 and thought that was high...lol...guess not, thanks Tommy!
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Simple will change to beneficiaries
Amount: $440.00
Posted by: Jill in Easton, PA.Posted: June 20th, 2010 12:06PM
Attorney or Product: AttorneyComplexity: simple
Already had a Simple Will,(by the same attorney) we added a name to our beneficiaries, that was it. Asked the Lawyer a couple of questions regarding the law in our state. Went back the next week to sign and notarize.
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Cost of Will
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Freda in Fairfax, VA.Posted: June 3rd, 2010 01:06PM
Attorney or Product: Couples WillComplexity: Simple
After getting married, my husband and I wanted to create wills. We made an appointment with an estate planning lawyer. For a couple, the cost was $3,000 for wills plus other common planning documents. Yikes! That seems high to me and I'll keep shopping around.
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My father's simple will
Amount: $3,500.00
Posted by: Linda K. Haas in Virginia Beach, VA.Posted: October 20th, 2009 06:10PM
Attorney or Product: HookComplexity: simple
Firm: Oast & Hook
My father's estate is valued at approximately $400,000. His home is worth about $300,000 and he has about $100,000 in CDs and cash. His will simply states that all of his assets be divided amongst his 5 surviving children upon his death. My mother is deceased. We feel that he was robbed by his attorney. How could a simple will cost $3500?
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Relief
Amount: $1,085.00
Posted by: Leelo in Fort Wayne, IN.Posted: August 28th, 2008 12:08PM
Attorney or Product: Aaron BlackComplexity: Modest
A follow up to my previous post. In a meeting later, I explained my situation and how I felt. He must have felt the same, since he did lower the price from $1285.00 to $1085.00 If you have a problem with your will, it does pay to let the lawyer know about it so he can rectify the situation. He provided will, Health Power of Attorney, HIPAA Power of Attorney, Standard Power of Attorney and Living Will Declaration.
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Harrasment & excessive charges
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Leelo in Fort Wayne, IN.Posted: August 12th, 2008 06:08AM
Attorney or Product: Aaron BlackComplexity: Modest
In January, I contacted Mr. Black (referred) regarding a will or an estate. I had question at that time regarding a 1031 exchange in an estate plan. He got back with me two (2-3) months later. Said he did not have time to research it until now.

Mr. Black wanted me to make a decision based on what we had talked about in January. He made several calls to me, at work, wanting me to make a decision. I had still not made a decision as to who the beneficiaries were to be or whether I was going to have a will or estate.

I asked him what he was charging for the will/estate since I could not remember. He told me $650.00 for the will and $1125.00 for an estate.

When we scheduled the appointment for me to sign the will, he could not get into his office and had somebody bringing him the key so we could get in. He had also stated he now had a sign put in front of the building so I could find him. There was no sign and after waiting a few minutes, I suggested we sit on the bench.

When he read the first sentence, I became extremely upset. (I am making this will under no duress....) I told him I could not continue since I felt he had harassed me to the point of having to make a decision. He insisted we go further and I said I could not and got up to leave.

His paperwork had fallen to the side and another bill was enclosed for over $1200.00. He said that included the $598.00 he originally charged plus $650.00 for the will.
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Jose
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: a user in Shawnee Mission, KS.Posted: August 19th, 2007 08:08AM
Attorney or Product: Will & related documentsComplexity:
It is foolish to think that a lawyer can quote a fee for good documents that are tailored to your personal needs and situation without first meeting and talking with you. It is more foolish to think that it is smart or OK to fill out internet forms on your own. Lawyers spend a lot of time and money on education and practice to learn how to do things right and best for you. Be smart!
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External Resources:
  1.  www.legaldocs.com/ep_ind-s.htm
  2.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
  3.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/faq_paylawyer.cfm
  4.  estate.findlaw.com/wills/making-a-will-faqs.html
  5.  estate.findlaw.com/wills/signing-a-will.html
  6.  www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education.html
  7.  www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education.html
  8.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
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