Many of our clients want to know what their estate plan will cost before they schedule their initial consultation. Unfortunately, we can’t give you an estimate of the investment that you will need to make until we get to know you better. We go through the same process for clients with very simple planning needs as we do with those who have complex issues. The cost of an estate plan depends on the risks that you face and which risks you wish to avoid.
If you have ever purchased a bicycle, a camera, a chainsaw, a musical instrument, you will find designing an estate plan to be somewhat similar. If you just want a bicycle, and don't care about what options are available, how the bicycle can be used, or the quality of the components, your task will be simple and relatively thoughtless. You drive to your nearest retail store and choose between the two options. But when you start reading about bicycles, spend some time at a bicycle shop, and talk to people who understand bicycles, the process seems more complicated. It's not. The choices don't change. The cost don't go up. You just have a greater understanding of what you are doing, and you have to make intelligent choices about what you need. When you are informed, you know that you get what you pay for.
If you just want a Will or a power of attorney, you can buy one online. It might be the right choice for you. But if you want an estate plan that fits your needs, you have to identify your goals and understand how your estate planning documents can accomplish those goals. You have to talk about family dynamics, your assets, and your concerns. We have a process to work through these issues and come up with the best plan for you.
Every estate plan is different, but our plans typically fall into one of four broad categories, which we will explain in more detail at our first meeting. Comprehensive estate planning packages begin at $650 for individuals and $850 for married couples. We occasionally meet with clients who don’t need any changes to their existing estate plan. We also meet with clients with complex planning issues that require advanced planning strategies. We rarely have clients who spend more than $5,500 on a foundational estate plan. And many of our clients opt for something in between.
When we go through your options, we will set a flat fee for each option. We do not bill by the hour. We ask for one-half of the agreed-upon fee at that time we are hired. The remainder is due when you sign your documents.