Estate planning is a very essential act for anyone who wants a bright future for his or her family and friends. Some people evade estate planning because they think it is an expensive task. However, estate planning is not expensive as it seems. Well, all this depends on what expensive means to you. Is it worth all the costs? This and many answers on your mind will be answered in this article concerning estate planning costs. Just read on to fight deeper insights in to this paradox.
The cost of your estate planning solely depends on your situation. You may not require a complex estate plan. If that is the case, then your costs will be much less. A simple estate planning just requires you to have a Will; Medical Power of Attorney; Financial Power of Attorney; HIPAA Directive; and a Living Will. Such a plan is usually done at a fixed fee.
Most of the families seeking estate planning desire that their information remain private and not interfered by other people or family members. Again, most families wish that great care is taken with those who benefit from their estate. For example, some families are worried that they may lose their inheritance in ad marriage, or their beneficiaries may misuse their inheritance or worse off, lose the inheritance to creditors. Again, families have a great concern on the taxes levied on the inheritance. They also want to avoid costs of probate proceedings on their estate. In such a scenario, there is a trust that plan that can be processed. However, trust planning is a bit costly but it is worth it.
Estate planning is a delicate process that has to be handled by a lawyer. Even in a situation where you opt for a simple plan, legal consultation is very vital. Together with the legal consultation, you will require to prepare documents that show what your desires are. The required documents are different and they vary according to your situation. Generally, the most common documents that will be required include medical powers of attorney, a Will, a Trust, and financial powers of attorney. Your attorney will be there to guide you through the decisions that you need to make concerning your plan and then help you choose the best plan for your family depending on your situation.
Generally, estate planning costs vary depending on different factors. These factors are the planner and the type of plan you want. Different planners charge differently and they offer different types of plan. Depending on your financial position, that is how you will be charged. The charges levied on you are to cater for the documents, paying your attorney and paying for any taxes or probate fees needed. However, there are numerous planners online and you can visit their websites to get a rough figure of how much they charge their estate plan. Be careful when choosing a plan and ensure that it best fits your family, the assets you possess as well as your financial position.
Things not to do in estate planning
Every estate plan is made with unique features. But the same mistakes and problems recur across all the plans. However, each classic mistake is avoidable and what is needed is just the knowledge of your plan and creating enough time to work on your estate plan.
Do not Fail to understand the plan
Most people, even the rich and the sophisticate tend to be passive in the presence of a planner. They depend on the planner to ensure that everything is done according to their wish. You should know that it is the work of the planner to ensure that you understand the basics of how the plan works. Do not overlook that. You should insist that the planner spends time taking you through the planning process and if possible, take important notes during the process. This is to avoid having hazy details on your plan and confusing your heirs on your possessions
Do not fail to update asset ownership
You might have ownership over assets on your own, others may be in a joint title with your spouse, and others may be with your children while others might be in partnerships, vehicles or trusts. These assets need to be reviewed. You should from time to time confirm whether the arrangement still meets your needs, if there are changes in the law that can make the ownership better. You should review your plans to check whether they are up to date or if they may incur unnecessary taxes or become complex. If there is need to update anything, go ahead and do it.
Do not fail to update powers of attorney
Every estate plan has a power of attorney. The financial power of attorney and the medical power of attorney. There is a high possibility of getting disabled and needing these documents before you need a will and the rest of estate planning. It is sad that some people do not have powers of attorney documents or the ones they have kept are obsolete. Ensure that you possess these documents and make sure that they have been reviewed and are up to date with any new terms
Do not fail to update the plan
There are different parts of an estate plan that become obsolete for a number of people. There are some parts which may vary from time to time. Ensure that you keep in touch with your plan in case there is a major change in your family so that you can alter the necessary details. These changes may include: birth, marriage, divorce or death
Points to note when dealing with an attorney
Having an attorney is a very vital step in estate planning. However, an attorney is among the major factors that determine how much your estate plan will cost. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when you have to choose an attorney for your estate plan. The major factor is the attorney’s reasonableness in terms of the fees he or she will charge. It is good to be vigilant when it comes to attorney’s charges. Apart from the experiences of the attorney in handling legal matters that fit yours, local as well as state wide business practices also influence how much an attorney will charge. Read on to get number of factors which you should consider to determine whether the fees quoted to you are reasonable
Most attorneys do not charge fees for the initial meeting
It is true that most attorneys will not charge a fee for the initial meeting with them. However, this has been changing in the recent past. Due to the current state of economy, the attorneys have started asking for a small fee for the initial meeting with you. The argument is based on the fact that the attorney is also a business person and spending time with you takes away time he would have spent with his clients and this should be compensated. Yes, your time is valuable as well as their time.
Estate planning attorneys ususally charge a flat fee for estate plans
A flat fee involves a one dollar amount that caters for the initial meeting, preparation of basic documents, review of documents, and signing of the documents. There are attorneys who will include assistance in funding your trust as part of the flat fee. Other attorney will charge the funding fee separately depending on how much they will be helping you with when it comes to funding. Alternatively you can choose to have the attorney charge you on an hourly basis. However, this is not acceptable by many people because there is a lot of uncertainty on what the final total cost will be. To avoid this, you can request your attorney to come up with a flat fee that will cover all the charges incurred in the process of service delivery.
Inquire about standard hourly rates
In some situations, despite the fact that the attorney has charged you a flat fee, sometime they may require to have a standard hourly charges or other services. Ask their hourly charges of the attorney you are dealing with. You can also ask paralegals in the same firm. Here is a hint: the more the attorney’s charges, the more experience the attorney has. This will give you a hint of the number of hours the attorney expects the firm to spend on the estate plan you are processing. Keep in mind that, the hours may seem like a lot to you but if the attorney has a great deal of experience, then it will be better for you. This is because they will find time to meet with you and answer your questions accordingly, design a good plan for you, take you through the plan, help you understand in, help you sign the plan and finally help you to fund your trust.
The worst question you can ever ask in estate planning is “Can you give me a range of fees that you charge for estate planning documents?” if indeed the attorney goes ahead and gives you a range, then wait for disappointments because you will be focused on the lowest amount on the range given in the quotation. The given range will not allow you to think clearly about the value you will be getting for your money. In a situation where the attorney asks for more than the minimum fee in the quotation, then you will end up getting so disappointed. It is advised that you hold a discussion with your attorney on the estate planning needs first before you get any quotation for any fees because the attorney will be able to give you a reasonable fee that is based on their experience in handling estate plans that resemble yours.
Nowadays, it is acceptable that you hold a meaningful meeting over telephone. Instead of meeting your attorney in person, you can consider setting up telephone interviews with at least two attorneys for your initial meeting. This will save you time as well as the attorney’s time. Again, you will be able to tell from the call whether you would want to work with the attorney or not. The attorney will also be able to have an idea of the kind of plan you want and quote a flat fee for your basic estate plan. This will give you an opportunity to quote the flat fee given by both attorneys and then narrow down to one attorney who will suit your needs and then you can set up a meeting in person.
I mean, don’t settle for less. There is an old saying that goes, you get what you pay for. Trust this saying. Do not just settle for the cheapest attorney. First, ask the attorney who is going to charge you more why they have to do that. There are attorney who are in the business of selling estate plans in bulk while others have a genuine interest of giving you an estate plan that is of a higher quality. They may choose to become your adviser for life regarding your estate plan as well as other legal terms. Second, put in mind about how comfortable you are with the attorney because you will be required to be open and honest when discussing the most intimate details concerning your personal life and finances. Lastly, trust your instincts and go with how they lead you because it is only you who knows who you need to trust with such vital information concerning your life
Charges to do with estate planning vary according to your need and the kind of plan you have. It can be as little as $500 or as much as $10,000 or somewhere in between. Since there are no fixed charges for such plans, you should be able to determine what is best for you depending on your situation. Your next best step is to have your free consultation.
Estate Planning Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need help with your estate plan, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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