A valid will can help prevent family infighting, protect assets, and ensure that loved ones are provided for. But the process of writing a will is often thought to be complicated, and many people shy away from it due to fears about expensive legal fees.

The good news is that the cost of drafting a will does not have to be outrageously high. In fact, it is possible to write your own will for a fraction of what an attorney would charge you. However, you should consider carefully whether an online option is right for your needs and budget.

If you are unsure what to do, consult an estate planning expert for guidance. They can help you create a plan that best fits your specific situation and will be up to date should your circumstances change. They also have the expertise to make sure your will meets all of the legal requirements in your state. However, this approach is typically more costly than other options.

Attorneys usually charge either a flat fee or an hourly rate. Those who choose the latter route can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of your will and how much time the attorney spends with you.

Online services like Legal Zoom, US Legal Wills, and Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust are a convenient way to draft your own will without incurring the expense of an attorney. These companies offer basic packages for a will starting around US$90, and they can also provide other important documents like advance health care directives and living wills.

Other online programs, such as FreeWill, allow you to create a affordable will writing for free. While this service does not include outside legal support or mailing of the final documents, it does save you from paying an attorney’s hourly rates. Just be aware that this type of document may not be as comprehensive as a professionally drafted one and might leave your Executor struggling to interpret your intentions.

Another benefit of an online will-making program is that it can be completed at your own pace from any location with internet access. In addition, some companies offer a service that allows you to login at any time to update your documents. This feature can be particularly helpful for those who are unsure what to do with all of their assets or whose family situations have changed since the original will was written.

If you decide to go with an attorney, be sure to shop around and get a quote before choosing them. Ask about any additional perks, such as outside legal support or the ability to have your documents mailed after they’re complete.

Traditionally, hiring an attorney is the most expensive option for drafting a will. However, in light of the many benefits a will can provide, it’s worth considering if paying an hourly fee is truly worth the peace of mind you’ll have knowing your wishes will be legally binding when the time comes.