The typical cost of writing a will depends on whether you write the will yourself or you hire an attorney, as well as the complexity of your financial situation. Either way, the benefits of a will outweigh the costs, because a will enables you to control how your assets will be divided among your heirs after your death. If you don't have a will, state laws determine how your assets are divided and who has guardianship of your children. Even if your assets are small, taking the time to make a will saves time and money later on.
You can write your own will using inexpensive computer software, such as Quicken Willmaker Plus, or through websites that guide you through the process of making your own will, such as LegalZoom.com. This option is best if you have a simple will and the value of your estate is under the federal estate tax limit. Writing your own will usually costs less than $100, and may be as inexpensive as $25. Writing your own will is completely legal, but you also risk the chance of not making your wishes clear or using legal terms incorrectly.
Hiring an attorney to help you write a will costs more, but using a legal professional ensures that your will clearly expresses your wishes and employs legal terminology correctly. Ask for quotes before choosing a lawyer and consider asking friends for recommendations. In addition, reduce your legal costs by assembling relevant information before seeing your lawyer, such as your assets and properties, any debts or liabilities, and the people and organizations you wish to leave your money to. The cost of hiring an attorney to help you write a will depends on the attorney, the complexity of your will and other factors, but expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars.