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