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Q

How much does a will cost?

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A

While it may cost at least $400 to create a will with your lawyer, you can now create a will with the Policygenius app for just $120.

Derek Silva

Derek Silva

Published August 4, 2020

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A last will and testament, usually just called a will, lays out what you want to happen to all of your belongings and assets after you die. The cost of a will varies based on how you create the will — yourself or with an attorney — and your personal or financial situation. Prices also vary based on where you live and whether or not you want to draft other documents along with your will.

An estate planning attorney may charge around $400 to create a will for you. However, you can create a will with the Policygenius app for just $120.

In many cases, a simple will covers someone who has a small estate and is passing all their assets to their spouse or children. If you use an estate planning attorney, you may also pay other attorney fees, like for an initial consultation or for additional legal advice.

Some people may need other documents besides a will. You can expect to pay more for more complex situations and for other documents beyond the will. Some estate planning documents that are good for most people to have include a living will (to plan for end-of-life medical care) and a power of attorney. These are common documents but they could add hundreds of dollars to your final bill. Drafting any additional documents could easily bring your bill over $1,000.

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Why your will may cost more

Multiple factors could increase the cost of a will. Where you live could have a big effect since states’ laws vary and creating certain documents may be more complicated in certain states. A lawyer in a city might also charge significantly more than a lawyer in a less-populated area. (Learn more about how much estate lawyers cost.)

Here are some common reasons you’ll pay more for a will:

  • You have a wealthy estate with many assets to distribute.
  • You’re leaving assets for members of a blended family (like stepchildren), people who aren’t family, businesses, or organizations.
  • You want to exclude children or your spouse from your will.
  • You’re leaving assets to a dependent who has special needs, receives Medicaid, or otherwise needs a legal guardian.
  • You want to create a trust through your will. (Expect to pay at least $1,000 if you ask a lawyer to create the trust.)
  • You want to draft other estate planning documents in addition to a will.
  • You need other legal advice from an estate lawyer, like how to minimize estate tax or inheritance tax.

Some of the scenarios listed above will require you to work with an attorney, but you might still be able to create a will yourself or use an online service to address these scenarios. If you’re using an app or website to create your will, make sure the service is vetted by real attorneys to ensure the accuracy and validity of your will. Even a small mistake could allow someone to contest your will, dragging out probate and costing your beneficiaries both time and money.

Related article: When should I hire an estate lawyer?

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About the author

Personal Finance Expert

Derek Silva

Personal Finance Expert

Derek is a tax expert at Policygenius in New York City. He has written about multiple personal finance topics in the past, and his work has been covered by Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider and CNBC.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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