Friday, January 15, 2016

How Much Does it Cost for an Estate Plan?

This can be a difficult question to answer because it depends. I can assure you it is better to seek legal counseling than simply going online to do it yourself. Sure, if you are looking to plug your name into a couple standard documents, you can do it online for free or very cheap yourself. Then you can wait and see what happens. However without the guidance of an attorney there may be mistakes that end up costing your heirs a LOT more than what you saved on legal fees initially.  Do you really want your last thoughts to be, “I hope this works?”

Questions that can determine the cost of an Estate Plan

While a fee can’t be quoted without knowing you personally, here are the factors that most attorneys consider when determining prices:

- Are you single or married (nearly doubling the number of legal documents to be created)?

- Do you have any children with another partner or does your spouse?

- Do you expect anyone to challenge your wishes?

- What if your spouse wants to remarry if you die?

- Do you need to avoid estate taxes?

- What type of distributions would you like to make?

Why Choose an Estate Planning attorney?

An Estate Planning Attorney is here to help you make the most informed choices for your loved ones based on your unique family and financial circumstances; no two families are alike. The simple truth is that for every homeowner in California, a will is not enough.  Leaving only a will or having no plan at all will force your family to court after you pass.  An estate planning attorney can give you the guidance to make sure you choose the right plan and to make sure it succeeds.

Is a Living Trust right for you?

A Living Trust may not be needed for everyone, especially if you don’t own a home and have an estate less that $150,000 and have no children.  You might be fine instead with a simple will to say who you want to get what. Every situation must be determined on a case-by-case basis, and for more info about all this you might be interested to read some of the materials on trusts.  Of course, you’re welcome to schedule an appointment for a legal recommendation based on your particular situation. 

Fortunately, in this area there are a lot of lawyers available so it becomes a matter of preference. 

How do you find the Attorney that is right for you?

You will need a lawyer who’s practice focuses in area of the “Estate Planning Law.” An estate planning attorney will know what questions to ask so he/she can spot the issues that will likely need to worked out, instead of leaving them to your family after you pass.

When choosing an attorney, seek to find the one with the right combination of skills, experience, and “fit” between you and him or her.  You should feel comfortable your attorney, as this person will serve as a trusted advisor in the years to come whenever there’s a change in your finances or family dynamics. Please contact Chris Scarcella, Esq. for a consultation to meet with an estate planning attorney who has won numerous client appreciation awards.

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