How much does drafting a will cost in South Africa?

How much does drafting a will cost in South Africa?


To draft a will in South Africa, costs typically range from free (offered during promotions or by certain services) to about R3,000, depending on the complexity of the will and the lawyer’s fees.

In South Africa, the cost of drafting a will can vary quite a bit depending on the complexity of the estate and the professional you choose to draft it. Typically, prices can range from no cost (as some firms offer this as a complimentary service if you use their other services) up to R3,000 or more for more complex wills drafted by experienced attorneys.

Here’s a closer look at what can affect the cost of drafting a will:

  • Simplicity vs. Complexity: A straightforward will that simply divides assets among a few beneficiaries will generally be less expensive than a complex will that includes trusts, multiple beneficiaries under different conditions, and overseas assets.
  • Professional Fees: Fees vary among legal professionals. Some might charge a flat rate, while others charge based on the time spent.
  • Promotions or Free Services: Many legal firms and banks offer free will-drafting services as part of promotions or as a benefit if you use their other services. Additionally, during National Wills Week, many South African attorneys draft wills for free.
  • Additional Consultations and Revisions: Additional costs may incur if multiple consultations or significant revisions are needed.

If you’re considering having a will drafted, it’s a good idea to inquire directly with legal firms or your bank to see what options and pricing they offer. This can help ensure you get a service that fits your needs and budget.

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Certainly! Here’s a more detailed explanation for each point regarding the costs associated with drafting a will in South Africa:

Simplicity vs. Complexity

  • Simple Wills: Costs are lower for simple wills where the estate is straightforward—typically just involving the distribution of assets to a small number of beneficiaries without any specific conditions attached.
  • Complex Wills: For estates that include a variety of assets, multiple beneficiaries, trusts, conditions on inheritances, or tax planning needs, the cost increases. This is due to the additional legal expertise and time required to ensure all legal and personal wishes are appropriately addressed.

Professional Fees

  • Flat Rate vs. Hourly Rate: Some attorneys might offer a flat rate for will drafting, which can provide clear cost expectations. Others may charge an hourly rate, which can vary depending on the lawyer’s experience and location.
  • Expertise of the Attorney: More experienced lawyers or those specialized in estate planning generally charge more due to their expertise, which can be crucial for ensuring the will is legally sound and tailored to the client’s specific needs.

Promotions or Free Services

  • National Wills Week: Annually, many South African law firms participate in National Wills Week, during which they offer to draft basic wills for free. This initiative aims to encourage people to have legally sound wills.
  • Bank and Legal Firm Promotions: Some banks and legal firms offer free will-drafting services as part of a package when you utilize their other services, such as opening a certain type of account or investing in specific financial products.
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Additional Consultations and Revisions

  • Initial Consultations: Some lawyers may include the cost of an initial consultation in their drafting fee, but extensive consultations might increase the final cost.
  • Revisions: If a will requires several revisions due to changes in decisions or additional details needed, this could lead to extra charges, especially if the lawyer charges by the hour.

By understanding these factors, individuals can better anticipate the potential costs involved in drafting a will and make informed decisions about how to proceed based on their personal and financial circumstances.