I had one client come in one time where
she got to the end of her Internet estate planning
package and it came time to enter the credit card
number and then it spit it back with a disclaimer
saying that she should have her own attorney review
the plan. Then she made an appointment with me to
review it, and actually they were pretty good documents,
pretty good instructions, but I wouldn't have charged
her in a simple will case maybe even as much as she
spent on the Internet package. She could've had an
attorney do this and maybe spent about the same amount
||How much should people expect to pay an attorney to create a will?
|Plan for your heirs
simple will really should cost between $50 and $500.
For a tax-planning will you've got to look at how
many different pieces are going together with this.
If it's just the standard formula for using up the
exemption amount, this could go from $500 to $5,000.
If there are irrevocable living trusts that go along
with it -- because they're irrevocable, people's liability
lasts a long time -- that's a document that's going
to be four figures. If somebody is starting to get
close to paying five figures for the package, usually,
at least in my opinion, the family should have a lot
of money and there has to be a lot of implementation
steps that go along with this that somebody is doing
for them. Because it doesn't do anybody any good just
to put a good document in place. You've got to make
sure all those other "who" questions have
been answered correctly and if they haven't, they
have to be changed and coordinated and assets have
to be retitled at times. And if somebody's handling
all this, it's reasonable that you would run up some
||How often should people revisit their estate plan?
“A simple will really should cost between $50 and $500.”
people should revisit their estate plan whenever there's
a significant event: a marriage, a change of marital
status, adding children, grandchildren, any dramatic
changes in feelings toward any of the beneficiaries,
winning the lottery or the approach to retirement.
Otherwise, I'd say every three years, pick up the
documents and look them over. Maybe at one time it
made sense saying, "keep the kid's money in trust
until 35," but now the kid's 28 and is pretty well-grounded,
running a business or a professional practice, got
his own family. It doesn't really make any sense to
tie his money up anymore. Those are the types of things
that come up quickly, even to a client, when they
start reading the documents.