If you’re one of the 85% of Aussie seniors planning to pass down a legacy for their younger family members, getting your will right should be a major priority. So what are the costs of writing a will? The cost of a will can range depending on complexity, whether you’re using a kit, or having a lawyer prepare it for you.
The Costs Of Writing Up A Will
Lots of factors can affect how much you will costs. If you have more complex personal circumstances, such as a blended family, you will need to be more detailed and so it will cost more to prepare. If you’ve remarried, separated, or divorced, this could also make your will more complicated and time-consuming to prepare.
Additionally, if you want to leave gifts in specific ways or you want to leave someone out of your will (a person who would normally be included), your will could end up being more detailed and involved. Also, consider whether you have investment properties and structures like company or family trust to deal with in your will. Other factors include whether you have minor dependents to take care of and whether you have made any gifts and loans that you need to address in your will.
Even where you’re located in The United States could affect costs because some states could have more complex wills and estates regulations. So how much you might end up paying depends on a whole host of facts, but the following are general estimates to guide you.
1. Last Will And Testament Kit
Using a Last Will and Testament kit is the most affordable option. A kit could cost you from as little as $4.50 to $30, up to around $100. However, before deciding on this option, keep in mind a basic will kit typically gives poor instructions and you won’t get advice on the best way to structure your gifts to beneficiaries.
Kits don’t take your individual situation into account. Some don’t adequately cover issues like tax, super, children, and executors. So using a kit might not cover more complex requirements, and you could end up making simple mistakes that cost thousands of dollars or more to correct after you die.
2. Simple Last Will And Testament By A Lawyer
A simple Last Will and Testament prepared by a solicitor could cost you anywhere from $200 per hour to $800 per hour or more. A solicitor might charge around $300 to $500 an hour, so if your situation is more complex, you could end up paying much more.
3. Complete Estate Plan
An estate plan might include a complex will, trusts, enduring power of attorney, and an advanced health directive. If you’re intending to have a complete estate plan drawn up, it could cost you at least $1,000 and as much as $2,000 or more. For estate plans with complicated investment portfolios and business assets, you could be looking at $2,750 to $5,000.
For this type of service, your lawyer might help you identify your assets and liabilities, give you advice on the best ways to gift assets and help you work out the best way to structure your estate.
4. Complex Wills
More complex wills could cost you $1,200 to $1,900. If you’re a high-net-worth individual with business and investment assets, you might be paying anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000.
How To Plan For The Costs
Writing a will can be fairly costly, but if you get it right the first time, you can avoid unnecessary costs. Decide on the best option for your situation. If your estate is fairly complex, having a lawyer draft the will is probably the best option. If you’re consulting a lawyer, ask for an estimate of the costs upfront and clarify what service the costs cover. Check what services would require additional costs.
You might want to get a few different quotes from lawyers as lawyers‘ fees can vary greatly. Consider their experience and skills when comparing costs. Additionally, some lawyers charge by the hour while most offer fixed fees for wills. A fixed-fee service could help you better plan for the costs, but if your situation is more complex, fixed-fee arrangements might not be offered. If your partner also needs to write a will, ask your lawyer about special rates for both wills.
The cost of writing up a will varies depending on which option you go with. The more complex your assets and request, the more like you’ll need to pay more. Having a legally valid, up-to-date will means you can leave a legacy for your intended beneficiaries and have your final wishes carried out. Make sure you consult a lawyer if you have any doubts, and always have your will updated when your situation changes.