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ContractsCounsel has assisted 27 clients with living wills and maintains a network of 26 estate planning lawyers available daily.

How much does a living will cost? Although it is not a pleasant thought, everyone should consider making a living will in case an accident leaves them unable to communicate their wishes for medical care and decisions.

One question that is often asked when considering a living will is how much will it cost? Let's explore this question and review some general information about living wills.

What's the Average Cost of Making a Living Will?

A living will, also called an advance directive, is a legal document that dictates important preferences and medical decisions if you cannot communicate those decisions for yourself.

If you are ever in an accident or a terminal illness leaves you incapacitated, a living will is used to instruct medical professionals on how to care for you for your end-of-life care. This could include information about life-extending care, intravenous food and water, or organ donation. Keep in mind it typically applies to end-of-life decisions and does not cover all medical care instructions.

Living wills allow you the receive the care you want. They also relieve your caregivers of the heavy burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf and reduce arguments or confusion among family members about what choices to make.

Getting help from a living will lawyer to draft a living will is highly encouraged. Living wills are legal documents that represent your preferences for very serious medical care, so it needs to be prepared correctly.

Data from ContractsCounsel's marketplace suggests that the average cost of making a living will is $500 - $750.

What's Typically Included in a Living Will

Living wills are very personal documents and can include any wishes that you have for possible medical care. A living will can include approval for medical care that you want to be given or denial for medical procedures you never wish to endure. However, the availability and legality of certain medical procedures may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Consult with an attorney to understand the specific laws and regulations in your area.

The decision to be put on a ventilator, for example, is a decision that can be included in a living will. Your living will can either approve or deny the use of a ventilator for your medical care.

Other decisions commonly found in living wills regarding medical care include:

  • The Use of Life Prolonging Medical Care: Life-prolonging care can include CPR, blood transfusions, the use of a respirator, and life-saving surgery.
  • Intravenous Food and Water: Administering food and water intravenously can keep a person in a coma alive for long periods of time. It is vital to decide if this is the type of care you would like to receive.
  • Palliative Care: When life-prolonging treatments are waived, palliative care will help reduce pain. This is also optional and should be laid out in a living will.

Difference Between a Will and a Living Will

Although they have a similar name, a living will is not the same as a will, or a last will and testament.

A living will instructs medical professionals about the type of care you wish to receive if you are incapacitated and unable to express these wishes on your own. On the other hand, a last will and testament instructs people how your belongings should be distributed after you have passed away.

Last will and testaments will include information about property and asset distribution and guardians for minor children.

Although different in nature, both of these documents are vital to ensuring that your wishes for you and your family are carried out.

Examples of When You May Need a Living Will

It is common to only associate living wills with older people or people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, having a living will is a good idea for everyone, no matter their age or health. A terrible accident or an unexpected illness can occur at any time. The only way to ensure that your medical wishes are carried out is through a living will.

A living will or advance directive will be utilized in the following situations:

  • If you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • If you have been seriously injured
  • If you are in a coma
  • If you are suffering from dementia
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Cost of Making a Living Will with a Lawyer

Hiring an estate planning lawyer to draft a living will comes with legal fees. Preparing any legal document takes the time and expertise of a licensed attorney.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average cost to draft a living will is $500 - $750 across all states.

How Do Lawyers Charge for a Living Will?

Probate lawyers, family lawyers, and estate planning lawyers will charge for services in various ways. Depending on the complexity and length of the living will, the attorney will most likely suggest a couple of fee options to the client.

Hourly Rates for a Living Will

An hourly rate fee structure is one of the more popular fee arrangements you will find when hiring an attorney for a legal matter. This is common for family lawyers and estate planning lawyers who may assist you in drafting a living will.

When using an hourly rate structure, the attorney will bill the client a set hourly rate for the number of hours worked on the case. This can include meeting with the client to discuss the content of the living will, drafting the document, and any revisions that may need to be done.

Many attorneys prefer hourly rate structures because they can charge for their efforts if the project takes more time than anticipated.

Marketplace data from ContractsCounsel's shows the average hourly rate for a probate lawyer ranges from $250 - $350 per hour across all states.

Flat Fee Rates for a Living Will

Some attorneys will choose to use a flat fee rate rather than billing hourly for a drafting project like a living will. Before beginning the project, the attorney will quote the client a one-time fee to draft the living will. If the client agrees, they will pay upfront.

Depending on the attorney, a flat fee may include or exclude other services that go along with drafting a living will. Clients should ask the attorney whether the flat fee rate includes a consultation meeting, communications, and revisions if necessary.

Clients tend to prefer the flat fee billing structure because they know how much their legal services will cost before incurring the cost and responsibility of paying the attorney.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for drafting a living will to be $500 - $750.

Why Should You Use a Lawyer to Make a Living Will?

In the event that you are ever incapacitated in an accident or diagnosed with a terminal illness, you should make sure that you receive the medical care that aligns with your wishes, values, and beliefs. A living will is the only way to guarantee that your medical wishes will be followed.

Hiring a lawyer to make a living will is highly encouraged because a lawyer will know how to draft this essential legal document correctly, so it is followed and upheld.

Get Help with a Living Will

Do you need help with a living will? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel's marketplace to receive flat fee bids from estate planning lawyers to handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel's platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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