I am often asked what it costs to prepare an estate plan. Some things to think about in response:
What will it cost if you don’t prepare an estate plan and your kids or heirs are forced into the probate system? Usually thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, more than the cost of a trust based estate plan.
What will it cost if you do it yourself or do it wrong? Again, the cost of getting things wrong can be very costly, and may include probate again. As an example, I have had potential clients avoid doing an estate plan by simply adding their kids to their deeds – figuring this will avoid probate and the need to prepare a trust based estate plan. It’s only years later that they learn that the property is now subject to the debts, judgments, and divorce decrees of their kids. This can be an expensive lesson to learn.
One additional point is that the cost to hire a professional to fix any of these problems, after the fact, is much more costly than getting things taken care of correctly up front.
These are just some of the things to consider when weighing the costs of getting your estate planning taken care of by an estate planning lawyer.