Legal Insurance

How Much Does a Will Cost? 

3 min read
Jun 27, 2023

Estate planning can help ensure your wishes for your care, assets, and family are carried out in the event of your incapacitation or death. Making a will is an important part of this process. 

Read on to learn the different ways you can create a will and the general costs of each option. Plus, discover how to help save on attorney’s fees with legal insurance. 

How much does it cost to make a will? 

Creating a will can cost you anywhere from $0 to a few thousand dollars. But why such a big range? What you will pay depends on several factors, including:

  • The complexities of your estate
  • Where you live 
  • How you decide to create your will 
  • The type of will you choose 

Typically, you can create a will on your own, through an online service, or with a lawyer. Because the process can be complex, you may benefit from having the help of an estate planning attorney

The cost of making a will on your own 

If you choose to create a will on your own, you may be able to write one yourself (aka a holographic will) or use an online service. Both of these options tend to cost less than working with an estate planning attorney and can even come with little to no cost. Whatever you choose, you need to make sure the will meets your state’s regulations.

While cost friendly, holographic wills may be a hassle to write if you have complex finances or end-of-life wishes. Plus, they don’t always stand up in court. Downloadable templates or kits usually don't allow for much customization, but they tend to be low cost.

Online will makers provide services that allow you to input your information in their platform to create a more personalized will. Some companies allow you to create your will at no cost, while others charge a fee for the creation of the will and any add-ons you choose — like legal support. 

The cost of making a will with a lawyer 

Hiring a lawyer can help ensure your will is accurate and legally binding. A proper will that stands up in court can help save your family a lot of money and time during the probate process, as it could make it easier for the probate court to verify it. 

Typically, what you pay depends on your lawyer’s experience and expertise, your specific situation, the size of your estate, and where you live. Though the average hourly rate for an attorney runs $391 an hour.

Other potential costs 

If you choose to work with an estate planning attorney, they may advise you to create other estate planning documents with your will, like a living trust. This document outlines how you want your assets to be managed and distributed in a more detailed manner, and it may allow you to skip the probate process altogether. It’s a bigger up-front cost than creating just a will but skipping probate can save your estate thousands of dollars in court costs and help your beneficiaries get access to your assets quickly. 

Major life changes such as selling or buying property, getting married or divorced, and having a baby typically require a will update. You can either create a codicil (an amendment to your original will) or make an entirely new will. That may cost you more money, though some lawyers include amendments in their original fee. 

Ways to help save money on making a will 

Estate planning can help ensure your family is taken care of in the event of your death, and it’s never too early to start. Here are some ways you may be able to save money on creating a will while still ensuring your will meets state regulations: 

  • If you want to make a holographic will, ask a lawyer if they’ll take a look at it when you’re finished. This could cost less than having them draft the will, and it can help ensure it’s correct. 
  • Use an online service or template.
  • Enroll in legal insurance through your employer. This essentially gives you low-cost access to attorneys who can help you make your will and save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the process. These services can also include access to online will and estate planning tools. 

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This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any Metropolitan Life Insurance company product or feature.

1 Average hourly rate of of $391.00 based on years of legal experience, National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence, Survey of Law Firm Economics, (2021).