General Question

FlutherBug's avatar

How much does it cost to create a will and how easy is it ?

Asked by FlutherBug (1103points) August 18th, 2016

Hello everyone,

This question is for the folks who have wills, or know how to create wills…

I have done some searching online but would like to know a little more


How much generally does it take to create a will ? I am on the West Coast in California…..

I have researched online, but the prices vary…

I know some people create wills online…... is there a difference in doing so? Creating a will online versus in real person with a lawyer?

I do want to create a will, but at the least amount possible (since I am still rather young…..... but I’d rather be safe than sorry and make sure my family is taken care of…)

Can I create a will on my own? If I sign my name, date it, etc? Anf give copies to my family and have it notarized? Will this still hold in court? Or do I need an actual legalized will to be considered?

I am a young female in my 20’s…... never married (yet) and I don’t have any children…. (yet)...... I want to put my mom and my sister on the will.

Even though I know I am young, I still want to make sure…


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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You can by will writing programs with prompts on what your estate looks like, and what your heirs are and might be, and how you would like your assets divided.

They usually come with extra from programs for things like Uniform Trust for Minors, and Advanced Medical Directive. You should get one for under $50. See if Nolo Press still publishes one.

If you want a lawyer to craft one, in California it can cost between $1,000 and $2,500 given what you have described. (That is the cost of an hour interview and an hour on the form because it is a template, up to a total of five hours).

FlutherBug's avatar


Thank you for your answer, I’m going to look into it. Yup, I definitely knew those California prices would be expensive! Ha! I’m going to try and see what I can do before shelling out the big bucks on this. I feel like I need something small in the meantime

kritiper's avatar

Here in the state of Idaho, one need only write out a letter by hand describing what you want done, who is to get what, etc. address it to who you want, and date, sign it.

funkdaddy's avatar

Took my mother in law recently to get hers done. It was ~$350 prepared by a lawyer.

His recommendation was “if you own dirt, or have kids, get a will, otherwise just write something out and have it notarized”...

No kids, no dirt? Write a short letter describing who gets what and have it notarized with two witnesses for $10.

AshlynM's avatar

Main thing is, you don’t need a lawyer to do it, althought it would look more professional. You can look up sample text of what goes into a will. To make it legal in California, it will require your signature in the prescence of two witnesses, and requires their signatures as well. Getting it notarized is also a good idea, it verifies you signed it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My neighbor bought a kit for ~$50 and made one for herself and her husband. Basically “Everything goes to her if he dies first, Everything goes to him if she dies first, Everything goes to the adult kids if they both die.” plus some other details.It also had Power of Attorney, Executor, Medical health proxy.. She had some witnesses sign in front of a Notary. But in NY a Notary can’t sign a will if it is not prepared by a lawyer. She had to have another paper signed by the witnesses stating that they signed the will.

One of the easiest and quickest ways of reducing costs and probate is to clean up all your bank accounts and insurance policies and specify who you want to be beneficiaries. That makes things go much quicker and avoids probate and additional charges..

jca's avatar

I looked at Legalzoom recently. You choose your state (state you reside in) and then they have the cost of a regular Will and Testament, and then additional packages (Will, Power of Attorney, etc.) that you can add on. I think for the state I live in, NY, it was about 50 for just plain old Will and then up to 150 for the full package with medical directive, Power of Attorney, etc.

I know that you can file it or any similar document with your local Probate court so that if you die, they have the unadulterated record on file. If you do it and don’t file it, it may be lost, tampered with or destroyed in a fire or something like that.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

A revocable living trust, combined with a “pour over” will, might be a better choice. This can be especially true for someone single. Here’s some information about California law: If you hire an attorney, that person will discuss your various options with you.

chyna's avatar

I just made out my will last month. I hired a lawyer and he did my will, medical power of attorney and durable power of attorney. It cost me 300.00 but I feel it was worth my peace of mind. I had my brother present so he would know my wishes and he will be taking care of everything if I die first.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It probably depends how big your estate is and what you want to do with it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Creating a will through purchased software or an online site will be cheaper than going to a lawyer. It’s a matter of making sure that the California requirements are met in order for it to be considered legal.

Some other factors that should be addressed in the will.

Medical Directive These are your instructions should something happen where you are still alive but incapable of making personal decisions.
1. Living Will or Advance Directive. These are terms used for your desire on how your body/health needs should be addressed. For example, should you end up on life support, if and when is it okay to “pull the plug”.
2. Financial Durable Power of Attorney Who do you want to be responsible for making financial decisions for you while you are still alive?

Upon Death
1. Trust
a. This is about how you want any property divided up.
b. A trustee is named. This person is responsible for upholding those wishes.
2. Will From my understanding, it is essentially a backup plan should there be any type of dispute. It is, or should be, upheld should it go to court.
3. Children Protection Plan This doesn’t apply to you now, but it may down the road or for others reading it. This covers short- and long-term plans for any children of the deceased.

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