Estate planning is one of the more important tasks a person can spend their time on. This is especially true for those who are the head of a family, as estate planning can smooth over a lot of the issues that arise when you pass. Unfortunately, many people fail to properly plan their estates for several reasons.
One reason is that they are afraid that it will cost them a lot of money. While estate planning almost certainly has some unavoidable costs, many people don’t need to do a lot of work to get things in order. The cost associated with estate planning will largely depend on what all needs to be done to manage your estate.
To understand more, we will first explore why estate planning is so important. Then we’ll discuss the various fees associated with estate planning, as well as those fees that may not be necessary (depending on the size and complexity of your estate). Finally, we’ll close out with a look at why it benefits individuals to work with a professional rather than try to manage everything independently.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
You can be told time and time again that estate planning is important, but if you don’t understand why it is important, then you will never bother to get started. It can be useful for protecting yourself and your loved ones, ensuring that inheritance moves smoothly, and setting your affairs to rest so that your family doesn’t have to worry about figuring out what you would have wanted.
Estate planning typically revolves around preparing for when you are no longer around. Writing a will, for example, is a step in the estate planning process. This could mean laying out who is to inherit what, though it can also be used for other important things, such as naming a guardian for your minor children.
Another important aspect of estate planning is setting up trusts to help reduce the amount of estate tax that needs to be paid after you pass. Trusts can also be used to help protect an inheritance from creditors, or to help keep a child with special need’s finances in order so that they don’t suffer any interruptions from their benefits.
Because estate planning is primarily about what happens after we die, many people think it’s fine to push it off. They push it off again and again because they don’t think they are going to pass anytime soon, but this isn’t a smart behavior. Nobody knows when they are going to pass, and accidents happen all the time, so it is best to partake in estate planning now than to leave it for later only to end up never getting a chance.
What Fees Are There to Estate Planning?
There are a number of fees that are common when it comes to estate planning. However, not every estate is going to need the same level of planning. It’s important to remember that the fees reflected here may not be the same that you will be faced with when planning your estate. The best thing to do is to speak with an estate planning attorney about what to expect, so they can use the reality of your situation to inform you about the expected costs.
When working with an attorney, you may be asked to pay an hourly rate or a flat fee. A flat fee is the easiest to budget for, since they will tell you exactly what you will be paying for the work that needs to be done. A flat fee is usually fairly affordable, while an hourly rate can easily climb to be much more expensive.
An hourly rate will be the most expensive when there is a lot that needs to be done to get your estate in order. Say you have a small estate and so all you need to get done is your will. This would likely fall under a flat fee, since a will is quick and easy to knock out. But a larger estate may need a will, as well as a trust or two, and some other work to better minimize how much will be lost to estate taxes. With so much work to be done, it only makes sense to charge an hourly rate, and therefore the cost will increase in tandem with the amount of work to be done.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an estate plan that will fit every client. While many estates will have overlap in the services they require, the way things play out will always be different. So it’s impossible to truly give a single dollar amount. It’s always best to check with a professional.
Why Should You Work with an Estate Planning Attorney?
There are a lot of resources out there that walk you through how to plan your estate on your own. These can be helpful, but there is one major flaw that comes up repeatedly when people do so.
The problem is that while there is a lot of information out there, not all of it is good. There is contradictory information scattered all over the internet, and it can make it difficult to determine what is accurate, what applies to your situation, and how exactly to make use of said information.
When you work with an estate planning attorney, all of the information you receive will be tailored to your unique circumstances. In addition, you can also be sure that your information came from a working professional and not from somebody that was paid to write a quick blog to drum up views.
When Should I Reach Out to an Estate Planning Attorney?
If you are ready to get started on planning your estate, then it’s time to call an experienced estate planning attorney. They will consult with you to find out what needs to be done and what goals you have, then they will use this information to provide you with solutions that work. The cost will be determined by what needs to be done, so remember to keep that in mind and ask plenty of questions, so you know exactly what to expect.