While it is impossible to determine exactly what a lawyer will charge for drafting your last will and testament, there are some factors that it is good to understand as you contemplate this question. There are many factors that determine the cost of this service, including your geographical area, the complexity of the will, the education level of the legal professional writing you will, and even the size and structure of the law firm you use. Generally, small, sole practitioner law offices may charge less than big firms, but this is not always the case. If a law firm specializes in sophisticated and complex estate planning and tax matters, the charge might be higher. These attorneys are likely to be more experienced and knowledgeable, however, which can make them faster and more efficient in this kind of work.

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge a Flat Fee for Writing a Will?

Sometimes, instead of billing hourly for their work on writing your will, an attorney will charge a flat fee that encompasses all of the steps of the process. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, the attorney does not have to keep track of every minute spent on the task of writing your will. This can save them time and headaches and could save you money, as lawyers often charge in minimum increments when they use hourly rates. What this might mean is that you are charged for your attorney’s minimum increment whether or not the task took that long. For example, an attorney with a 15-minute minimum increment will charge you for 15 minutes when they were on the phone with you for 2 minutes. Another reason for attorneys to charge a flat rate for writing a will is that it allows them to let you know upfront what your costs will be. If the task becomes more complicated or time-consuming than anticipated, the price will still be the same.

Why Does Where I Live Matter in the Cost of Having a Will Prepared?

For almost any product or service, the “going rate” can differ in different locations. What you might pay for a haircut in New York City is likely to be much different than what you would pay in rural Arkansas, for example. Legal services are no different. If you live in a large metropolitan area or on the coasts, most costs, including lawyer’s fees, are likely to be higher. If you live in the middle of the country, for example, or in a rural area, or both, fees may be lower.

Why Do I Need an Attorney to Prepare My Will?

While there are certainly many “do-it-yourself” legal websites that provide generic, cookie-cutter forms to print and fill out, there is no replacing the benefits to be gained by accessing the knowledge and experience of a dedicated estate planning attorney. An attorney can listen to your circumstances and your goals and advise you on the best way to ensure that your wishes are followed, and your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone. You don’t have a generic, cookie-cutter life; don’t trust your family’s future to an anonymous website that cannot know you or your specific needs.