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How much will I pay for Wills and Estate Planning?

Average Price
$270 - $440 per hour

What’s the average price of Estate Planning?

Ready to get your financial affairs in order with estate planning or by writing a will? Read our handy guide to find out how much your estate planner or will writer charges for their services.

What is Estate Planning?

In the event of death or incapacity, estate planning will ensure your assets are managed or protected in the way which you would like them to be. 

Estate planning will dictate who your assets are to go to, when and in what form. Working all of the details out while you are able to, will reduce stress on your loved ones. It will also make sure you get the final say on what happens to your own assets, rather than the government deciding for you. The process needs to be done in a thoughtful way, ensuring the instructions are clear, but also so that you minimize any cost or tax implications.

While the term ‘estate’ might seem like something that’s only for the rich and famous, you might be surprised to learn that everyone has an estate. The term covers things such as your house, car, bank account, investments, and possessions. So in essence, estate planning is making sure that each of these assets is distributed in a way in which you approve of, while you are able to make such decisions. 

Estate Planning vs a Will

Both estate planning and writing a will are very similar. However, a will is a single document, whereas estate planning may cover lots of legal documents and processes.  

Wills record your last will and testament. This includes how you want your assets to be divided. Wills are usually quite concise, in that they don’t go into further detail about business management or healthcare instructions, as an example.

Estate planning takes a more rounded approach to your wishes and instructions, both on a personal and practical level. In many cases, estate planning will include drawing up a will and a trust if applicable. Also included would be a power of attorney, healthcare directives, along with any other legal documents that help manage your estate. 

If you own a business, have had more than one marriage, want to donate some of your assets to charity, or have specific requests about your assets, then estate plans are advisable. But, if you simply want to make a record of who is to benefit from your estate, then a will may suffice. 

How much does Estate Planning cost? 

The cost of estate planning ranges between $150 and $440 per hour, with the average estate plan taking between 20 and 25 hours to draw up. Therefore, you should expect a total cost of between $3,000 and $11,000

The cost varies significantly because no two people have the same amount of assets or even wishes. On a basic level, you may just want to record your requests relating to asset division. However, more comprehensive estate planning looks at wealth management, especially where children are concerned. 

Average cost (per hour) $270
Minimum cost (per hour) $150
Maximum cost (per hour)$440

The cost of estate planning also depends on your location and the experience of the professional. As a general rule, lawyers in metropolitan areas such as Toronto will charge more for their services. But in remote areas where the cost of living is not as high, it’s possible to find lawyers who charge as little as $150 an hour. 

How much does a Will cost? 

Wills can sometimes be drawn up for free as part of your wider estate plan. Though, given estate plans are more comprehensive not to mention expensive, they aren’t going to suit everyone. In such a case, you can simply opt to have a will drawn up instead which will be cheaper overall. 

The cost of having a will drawn up varies between $500 and $1,100 on average when done through a lawyer.

Average cost$800
Minimum cost $500
Maximum cost$1,100

It is possible to find will writing services being advertised for a cheap fee. However, caution should be applied as if your will is not written by a legal professional (i.e a lawyer) then the document may not be watertight. So ensure they are a regulated legal professional according to your state laws. 

What changes the price of Estate Planning? 

The cost of estate planning varies depending on several factors, including: 

  • Type of estate planning 

  • The estate type

  • Time

  • Number of beneficiaries involved

  • Experience

  • Location

Type of Estate Planning 

Estate planning can cover a wide variety of processes depending on your personal circumstances. For example, whether you’ve been married before, have investments, own a business, etc. As part of your estate plan, you may wish to draw up a power of attorney. This will give one person a say over what happens while you are alive but incapacitated, or after you have passed away. The price of getting a power of attorney varies between $150 and $450 depending on your location. 

Though it’s good to remember that if drawing up an estate plan, then each of these aspects will likely be cheaper when grouped together, rather than approaching a lawyer for individual aspects. 

Type of estate planningHighest average priceLowest average price
Power of attorney$300$100
Trust set up$700$250

The estate type

Most people have an estate that is made up of different asset types. So for example, land, property, cash, cars, boats, antiques, etc are all tangible assets. Stocks, investments, or insurance policies aren’t things you can pick up and grab, so are intangible. These terms will get you thinking about everything you own beyond what you have in the bank. That’s because all of your assets need to be taken care of within your estate plan. 

Time

Lawyers may charge by the hour for estate planning, or charge a flat fee based on the 20-25 hour average the entire process takes. Again, for extremely large (over $1,000,000) or complex estates, you should expect some variation on this. 

Number of beneficiaries involved

The more beneficiaries you have for your estate plan, the more complex it will be. Some choose to leave their estate only to their immediate family, whereas others include charitable causes. So, have a clear plan in mind about who you want to receive your assets before you begin the process. 

Experience

All lawyers must be qualified to practice, though of course, their experience will differ greatly. As with any service you wish to hire, the more experienced or specialized the individual is, the more they are likely to cost. 

Location

Legal services are rarely cheap regardless, though the location of course plays a factor in the total cost. 

LocationAverage lawyer cost (per hour)
Calgary$270
Toronto$440
Winnipeg$380
Quebec City$200
Yellowknife$250

Is it worth getting Estate Planning?

To gain peace of mind that your assets will be distributed in a way you approve of, estate planning is absolutely worth it. Given how broad the process is, you can rest assured that every single detail will be covered by your legal professional. 

If no will or estate plan is made, then you do not have a say about who can access your assets. Regardless of which area you are in, the whole process can become very complex for those left behind. But if you’ve stated your wishes in a legal capacity, it will make everything a lot easier. So, it is well worth estate planning or at least drawing up a will, regardless of the value of your estate. 

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