By Stan Butterfield

What is the price of the average basic estate plan?

Most people that are thinking about getting a will wonder how much it is going to cost. The answer is, it depends, but on average in Oregon it will cost somewhere between $1,000.00 and $1,500.00. I practice law in Dallas, Oregon and so on average what I charge is slightly less than this. In the Portland metropolitan area you may pay this amount or slightly more. Generally, if a married couple is getting a will done, the lawyer gives them a break on a two for one type basis. This estimate of the average price of a will is also based on the idea of a “simple” will, if you have a need for a will that plans for a less common situation such as a child with special needs that can affect the price as well.

an image of a house blueprint with a piggy bank, magnifying glass, and model house on top of the blueprint

What affects the price of a will?

The factors that can affect price vary, but here are some things to consider. Almost always if you go to an attorney for a simple will you are going to get a “basic estate plan” that includes three documents; a will, a durable power of attorney, and in Oregon, an advance health directive. For a detailed description of each of these documents click here.  These three documents can save you and your family far more money than they cost. As an example, a durable power of attorney can help save your family from the necessity of going to court for authority to manage your financial affairs should you become incapacitated due to an accident or the effects of aging (dementia, etc.). Typically when there has been no preplanning, these kinds of problems are solved by guardianships & conservatorships. In that example, in Oregon, you and your family are likely to spend between $3,000.00 and $4,000.00 for that alone.

Where you live can also make a difference in how much a will costs. If you live in a rural area the average cost is likely to be less. I generally service clients in Polk, Marion, Yamhill, and Linn counties and I know that a person living in Salem or McMinnville is generally going to pay an attorney less in these locations than a person living in Portland or Lake Oswego.

What is the value of having a will?

In addition to the money you save yourself and your family by this pre-planning is the emotional price you avoid. Let me share an example from my own life. My dad died at the relatively young age of 52, due to cancer. He passed away just 30 days after he was diagnosed. None of the family had even gotten used to the idea that he was sick and then he was gone. As it turned out, my mother’s dad also died during the 30-day period before my dad died. This understandably left my mother in a very fragile condition. It fell upon me as the oldest son, at the age of 26, and my younger siblings, to plan a funeral and to deal with winding up my dad’s estate. The question we were left answering over and over was, “is this what dad would have wanted?” We never really knew if we had answered that question correctly. This is the gift you give to your family by getting a basic estate plan; you take away this burden from your family. How much is that worth?

If you want to prepare a basic estate plan and think Stan could make one for you, call—(503) 623-2427.