When it is time to find an attorney to write your wills and trusts it is important to keep in mind the cost that comes with it. Different lawyers have different rates, therefore, you will want to find the type that best suits your needs. But first, let's get a few things out of our way…
1. What is an Estate Planning Lawyer?
An Estate Planning Attorney is a type of lawyer who has specialized, through years of experience and studying, in advising clients on arranging their affairs prior to the client being incapacitated to do so. Besides the statements, wills and trusts, that are many other things that this person is going to be responsible for. Such as developing a plan to avoid estate taxes and assure that saving and assets will be safe. This person will also help to determine who will be in charge of your assets and liabilities when you are not around any longer. This also includes selecting guardians for your minor children.
2. Why is an Estate Planning Lawyer Important?
Having someone making you an estate plan will help your family to save time and time. Although, these two might be the least important ones. After the death of a loved one, it is really hard to think about the estate of the one who has passed and even harder to deal with it. If you have an estate plan before you pass, you will have insurance of where your assets and liabilities are going to, otherwise, the state of Florida will be the one to decide.
3. Who needs Estate Planning?
Estate planning is for everyone. Many people believe that this will be only important for extremely wealthy people, but the truth is that everyone can use estate planning. The way you decide to manage your belongings will have a great impact on the people around you.
Now that we got the basics out of our way. Let’s get to the part that you might be asking yourself: how much will this cost me? It is important to remember that an attorney of wills and trusts have had a lot of education and experience in the area in order to take care of your estate. Therefore, you will be paying for a person who is specialized in this. The cost will vary a lot depending on your case. There are a few things that you will want to take into account while considering the price that you will pay. It may sound obvious, but sometimes people tend to forget about this. The larger the estate you have, the higher the cost. The lawyer in charge of your case will have to take it all into account. Your furniture, paintings, jewelry, real estate, cars, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and etc. The more you have, the more work the lawyer will have to make a plan for all of your assets. This is why the rates will go up according to the number of things you have. The size of your estate is the best indicator of the fees you will pay. Although, keep in mind that the rates you will get from the lawyer will always be immensely cheaper than going through the probate process after a person you love passing away and not having the plan and documents in place. Considering the size of your estate, here are some ways in which estate planning lawyers will charge:
1. Flat Fees
It is not unusual to see flat fees in the market. The lowest end will for a very simple will is around $400. Although, the typical amount will be around $1,000 to $1,500. The reason some lawyers will charge a flat fee is that some forms and documents can be pre-written. Many estate planning lawyers have already a set of standard legal actions that they have planned for different situations. In that way, they will not be spending a lot of time in your case and will be charging according to their expertise.
This type of method is also beneficial for the client since you will not be hesitant to call or shoot an email to your lawyer and being afraid of being charged. This ensures a better lawyer-client relationship. This is a good way to really understand how the process works and asking all the questions you have without feeling like that is costing you more.
Knowing that, keep in mind that the lawyer will not charge the same flat fee for every client. You are going to have to talk to him or her in order to find out how much it will cost you. A good lawyer will be able to give you an estimate of that fee prior to starting your case and will not hide it from you.
2. Hourly Billing
Other lawyers will charge on an hourly-based fee. The hourly rate will always depend on the expertise of the lawyer in charge. This rate will also depend on where you are located. Big city lawyers will charge more than a small city lawyer, for example. Another thing to consider is the size of the firm the lawyer is in, typically, smaller firms will charge less than the big firms. These rates can differ a lot, from $100/hour to $200/hour in the same location. Lawyers who have specialized in estate planning may also charge more, but you will sure you are getting the best result since they have mastered and specialized in this.
3. Estate Planning Packages
You may find yourself needing more than a simple will. This is why many lawyers have included other types of actions in a package plan. This is a good way to be 100% sure that all is taken care of and no other worry or expense is left behind.
In the end, you should always have good communication with your lawyer and not be afraid to ask how much things will cost you. This is their job and they should be transparent to you about everything that is going on. Do your research and find the best lawyer for you in your area.