How Much Does a Will Cost in South Africa: A Comprehensive Guide

Creating a will is a crucial step to ensure that one’s assets are distributed according to their wishes after their passing. However, many individuals may be hesitant to pursue this essential legal document due to concerns about the cost. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various factors that influence the cost of creating a will in South Africa, providing clarity on the expenses involved and empowering readers to make informed decisions regarding their testamentary arrangements.

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Factors Influencing The Cost Of Creating A Will In South Africa

Creating a will is an important legal process that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. However, the cost of creating a will can vary based on several factors in South Africa.

The complexity of your estate is one of the main factors that influence the cost of creating a will. If you have a large estate with various assets, properties, businesses, or investments, it may require more time and expertise from an attorney, resulting in a higher cost.

The experience and expertise of the attorney you choose also affect the price. Highly skilled attorneys with more years of experience may charge higher fees for their service.

The location of the attorney’s office can also impact the cost. Attorneys located in major cities or affluent areas may charge more compared to those in smaller towns.

Additionally, other factors such as the number of beneficiaries, the need for additional legal documents like trusts or guardianship provisions, and the complexity of your instructions can further increase the cost.

Understanding these factors can help you better estimate and plan for the cost of creating a will in South Africa.

Understanding The Different Types Of Wills And Their Associated Costs

When it comes to creating a will in South Africa, it is important to understand the different types of wills available and the associated costs. The most common types of wills include a simple will, a living will, and a testamentary trust.

A simple will is a basic document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. The cost of drafting a simple will can vary depending on the complexity of your estate and the fees charged by the attorney. On average, you can expect to pay between R1500 and R5000 for a simple will in South Africa.

A living will, also known as an advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment and care in the event that you become incapacitated. The cost of creating a living will can range from R1000 to R3000, depending on the attorney’s fees and any additional services included.

Lastly, a testamentary trust is a type of will that establishes a trust to manage and distribute your assets after your death. The cost of creating a testamentary trust can be significantly higher than a simple will, as it involves the additional complexity of setting up and managing a trust. Costs can range from R10,000 to R30,000, or even higher for more complex estates.

It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine the most suitable type of will for your specific needs and to understand the associated costs involved.

Exploring The Fees Charged By Attorneys For Drafting A Will

When it comes to creating a will in South Africa, one of the main costs involved is the attorney’s fees for drafting the document. Attorneys generally charge a professional fee for their services, and the cost can vary depending on a few factors.

Firstly, the complexity of your estate and the specific instructions you want to include in your will can impact the cost. If your estate is straightforward and you only require basic instructions, the fee may be relatively low. However, if you have a complex estate with various assets and beneficiaries, the attorney may need to spend more time and effort in drafting the will, resulting in a higher fee.

Secondly, the attorney’s level of experience and reputation can also influence the cost. More experienced attorneys who have established themselves in the field may charge higher fees compared to newly qualified attorneys.

It’s important to have a discussion with your chosen attorney to understand their fee structure and what is included in their services. Some attorneys may offer a fixed fee for drafting a will, while others may charge an hourly rate. Additionally, inquire about any additional costs that may be involved, such as consultation fees or fees for making amendments to the will in the future.

Overall, it’s recommended to gather quotes from different attorneys and compare their fees and services before making a decision.

The Cost Implications Of Using Online Will Creation Services In South Africa

Online will creation services are gaining popularity as a cost-effective alternative to traditional attorney services. However, it is essential to consider the potential cost implications before utilizing these services in South Africa.

One main advantage of online will creation services is their affordability. They typically offer fixed fees, which are often lower compared to engaging an attorney. These services provide templates and step-by-step guidance to help individuals create their wills independently.

However, there are several factors to consider before opting for online services. Firstly, the complexity of one’s financial and personal situation should be assessed. Online platforms may not cater adequately to unique circumstances, such as blended families or specific asset distribution requirements.

Secondly, the legal validity and enforceability of online wills should be verified. It is crucial to ensure that these services comply with the legal requirements set out by the South African Wills Act. Consulting with a legal professional to review the drafted will can provide peace of mind.

Lastly, the lack of personalized legal advice may present a risk. Without an attorney to provide guidance, individuals may be unaware of potential pitfalls or legal implications. It is crucial to weigh the cost savings against the potential risks before deciding whether an online will creation service is suitable for one’s needs in South Africa.

Additional Expenses To Consider When Creating A Will, Such As Notarization And Safekeeping

Creating a will in South Africa involves more than just the cost of drafting the document. There are additional expenses that should be taken into account to ensure a comprehensive and legally valid will.

One such expense is notarization. Notarizing a will involves having it signed and stamped by a notary public, who verifies the authenticity of the signatures and ensures that the document meets the legal requirements. Notarization fees can vary, depending on the complexity of the will and the fees charged by individual notaries.

Another expense to consider is the cost of safekeeping your will. It is crucial to store the original document in a secure location to prevent loss or tampering. Options for safekeeping can include keeping it with a trusted attorney, using a safe deposit box, or storing it electronically in a secure cloud storage service. Each option has associated costs that should be factored into the overall expense of creating a will.

While these additional expenses may increase the cost of creating a will, they provide important safeguards to ensure that your wishes are protected and legally recognized. It is essential to consult with a qualified professional to understand the specific costs involved in notarization and safekeeping based on your individual circumstances.

6. Comparing the cost of creating a will through a trust company versus a traditional attorney

When it comes to creating a will in South Africa, individuals have the option of using a trust company or a traditional attorney. However, it is important to consider the cost implications of each option before making a decision.

Trust companies typically charge a fixed fee for their services, which can vary based on the complexity of the will and the value of the estate. This fee may include the drafting of the will, as well as any additional services such as estate planning or administration. On the other hand, traditional attorneys may charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the estate’s value.

While trust companies may offer a more cost-effective option for individuals with smaller estates or simpler wills, traditional attorneys may be more suitable for those with more complex estate planning needs. It is important to carefully consider the specific requirements of your will and consult with professionals from both options to determine the most cost-effective approach.

Ultimately, choosing between a trust company and a traditional attorney will depend on your individual circumstances and budget. It is always recommended to conduct thorough research and seek advice from professionals to ensure that your will is created efficiently and cost-effectively.

Understanding The Potential Cost Savings Of Updating An Existing Will Versus Creating A New One

Updating an existing will can be a cost-effective option compared to creating a new one from scratch. South African law allows individuals to update their wills through a codicil, which is a document that amends specific provisions of the existing will. The cost of updating a will through a codicil is typically lower than drafting an entirely new will.

When considering updating a will, it is important to assess the extent of the changes required. Minor amendments, such as updating beneficiaries or appointing new executors, can often be done through a codicil, resulting in significant cost savings. However, if extensive modifications or changes to the structure of the will are needed, it may be more suitable to create a new will altogether.

Before deciding on updating an existing will, consult with a qualified attorney. They will review the contents of the existing will and advise on the best course of action based on the nature and extent of the amendments required. It is crucial to ensure that any updates are legally binding and accurately reflect your wishes to avoid potential conflicts or challenges in the future.

Tips For Reducing The Overall Cost Of Creating A Will In South Africa

Creating a will in South Africa is an essential step in ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, the cost of creating a will can sometimes be a concern for individuals. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the overall cost while still ensuring the validity and effectiveness of your will.

Firstly, consider using a DIY will kit. These kits provide templates and instructions for creating a basic will without the need for legal assistance. While it is important to ensure the will meets all legal requirements, this can be a cost-effective option for those with simple estates.

Additionally, it may be possible to negotiate the fees charged by attorneys for drafting a will. Remember to inquire about any hidden costs and discuss your specific requirements upfront to avoid surprises.

Another option is to compare the cost of using a trust company versus a traditional attorney. Trust companies often offer competitive rates for will creation, so it is worth exploring this alternative.

Lastly, regularly updating your existing will can save costs in the long run. Instead of creating a new will from scratch, consider making amendments or additions to your current will to reflect any changes in your circumstances.

By taking these steps, you can reduce the overall cost of creating a will in South Africa without compromising on the importance of ensuring your wishes are legally protected.


1. How much does it typically cost to create a basic will in South Africa?

Creating a basic will in South Africa can cost anywhere between R500 and R2000, depending on various factors such as complexity, the involvement of an attorney, and additional services sought. The cost may increase if you require legal advice or assistance in drafting detailed provisions.

2. Are there any additional expenses besides the creation of the will?

Yes, there might be additional expenses to consider. For instance, if you involve an attorney, their professional fees will be an extra cost. Additionally, you may need to incur expenses for notarizing the will, storing it in a secure location, or making any amendments in the future.

3. Can the cost of creating a will vary based on the individual’s circumstances?

Absolutely. The cost of creating a will in South Africa can vary based on various factors. If a person’s estate is particularly complex, involving trusts, multiple properties, or various beneficiaries, it may require more time and expertise from an attorney, hence making it more expensive. Consulting with an attorney can help provide a better estimate based on individual circumstances.


In conclusion, the cost of creating a will in South Africa can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the estate and the services of the attorney or professional assisting with its creation. While there are options for individuals to create a simple will themselves using templates or online services, it is recommended to consult with a qualified professional to ensure the accurate and legal distribution of assets. The cost may range from a few hundred to several thousand rand, but ultimately, the peace of mind and security that a well-drafted will offers make it a worthwhile investment.

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