What Does a Simple Will Cost?

By Charlie Gaston
What Does a Simple Will Cost?

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We all want our voices heard and wishes met. So why not guarantee that those wishes regarding prized possessions and/or an estate are heard as well? With a will, you can make that happen. While the complexity of the will depends on various factors, you can start with a basic will for less than $100.

Significance

The most substantial cost of preparing a will is if you hire a lawyer to prepare the paperwork. Depending on the state, lawyer fees can range from $500 to $1,000 for a simple will.

Self-Preparer

To substantially lessen the cost of preparing a will, download a will template and prepare it yourself. A basic template from online services such as Legal Zoom, U.S. Legal Forms and Rocket Lawyer (see Resources section) serve as a step-by-step guide for completing a will. Each service provides online and over-the-phone assistance for a fee. To avoid such a fee, contact the county clerk or the local public records administrator. He will only be able to answer general questions regarding the filing process.

Will Template

While you can download a basic will template at no charge, others can range from $20 to $100 depending on the software program and the company that provides them. Additional on-site or over-the-phone assistance may be provided for a fee. These additional services incur a fee because many online sites (such as those named in the previous section) provide 24-hour assistance from in-house attorneys. Generally, very basic template software is free or discounted for download, while services that help the self-preparer understand and complete the will incur a higher fee. A number will be provided for over-the-phone assistance, with a link available for questions posed by email. These companies will provide complete instructions for obtaining additional assistance or working with an in-house attorney on their respective websites.

Notarize the Will

To prepare a will, download the necessary software and complete the template. Take the document to a notary service and have the will notarized. A witness is required at the time of signing.

Small Fee

To notarize a document, expect to pay $15 to $45 depending on the state.

Total

To prepare a will yourself, expect to pay $100 including the cost of the software required and the notary service that is required to authenticate it. For a lawyer, expect to pay $500. Additional fees may apply depending on how basic the will is.

About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.