WHAT IS THE COST OF A QUALITY ESTATE PLAN?
Fees vary significantly depending on issues like the size of the estate, the amount of tax planning needed, the complexity of the plan and its distribution scheme, whether or not the family involves children or grandchildren of different marriages, and if planning for beneficiaries with special needs is required. The expertise of the attorney, the amount of counseling and guidance offered, whether or not the attorney's office will do the trust funding, and geographical area also affect the cost of an estate plan.
Prior to our consultation with a client, it can be difficult to gauge cost because it is like estimating what it will cost to cure an illness before the doctor has seen the patient. On the other hand, it is important for people to have a realistic expectation of what good planning involves. In very general terms, you should anticipate fees for an estate plan (for estates under $2.5 million) to be in the range of $1200-1700 for a will package and $2200-2800 for a revocable living trust. In our firm, changes requested within one year are included in the cost.
If you have legal plan coverage through your employer, your legal plan will cover all or part of the cost of your estate plan.
Additional fees may apply in estate plans that require complex tax planning, life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, deeding multiple properties, or planning for generation skipping. While there can be a variety of special circumstances that may add to the cost of an estate plan, we always strive to keep the costs within the estimates above.
For larger estates, it is difficult to give a range, because of the varying complexities of each situation, but the fees can be considerably more. It is true that you can find off-the-shelf plans for less money, but you get what you pay for -- don't expect much in the way of customization of a plan to fit your particular needs, advice and counseling regarding your individual situation, or advisement regarding funding.