Many people realize that they should create an estate plan, but they worry about the cost. The amount that an estate plan costs can vary a great deal, based on things like which documents you need, the complexity of your situation, and how many revisions you make before approving and signing the documents.
Some lawyers charge by the hour to draft estate planning documents, while some others offer flat fees per item and some cost-saving package deals. One of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting the lawyer who will draft the documents to protect you and your family is that you do not want the cost of attorney fees to be the only factor in your decision. A Florida estate planning attorney can best answer your questions related to estate planning.
Hourly Legal Fees vs. Flat Fees and Packages
Charging by the hour presents some inherent problems for lawyers when providing legal services to their clients. If a recent law school graduate takes 10 hours to do what an experienced lawyer can do in one or two hours, the client could end up with an astronomical bill for the value of the services performed by the new lawyer. The client should not have to pay for an attorney’s inefficiency.
Hourly fees also tend to punish lawyers who are organized and experienced. In that situation, the efficient attorney would get paid less than an inexperienced one.
The modern trend has been to charge clients based on the value of the services rendered, rather than the time taken to achieve those results. The attorney gives the client a ballpark idea of the cost of the estate planning documents based on the complexity of the client’s needs and a standard number of changes the client might make during the process.
Another approach is to use flat fees with a defined number of changes and a method of charging for additional changes the client might request. With an option for packages, the client could receive multiple documents for a total cost that is less than what all of the documents would cost separately.
Types of Estate Planning Documents
A single person with no children and modest assets will generally not need to spend as much on an estate plan as a very wealthy individual with children from multiple marriages who wants to set up a sophisticated living trust with provisions to minimize taxes on the estate and address issues like protecting assets from creditors and providing for a beneficiary with disabilities. Your needs and goals will be one of the greatest factors in determining how much your estate plan will cost. Some of the basic estate planning documents include:
- Simple will
- Medicaid will or trust
- Basic revocable living trust
- Irrevocable living trust
- Specialized living trust
- Durable power of attorney for financial matters
- Medical power of attorney