Even if you need only a simple will, it is advisable to seek the help of a qualified attorney. Writing a will is one of the least expensive legal tasks that you can request, and it is well worth the investment to have it done by an expert.
For dealing with estate and inheritance taxes, probate with assets in more than one state, and/or setting up any kind of a trust, an attorney is a must. Both federal and state estate laws change frequently. Finding an attorney who specializes in estate and probate law is as important as finding a cardiologist to care for your heart.
Finding an attorney to prepare your estate plan is a matter of their expertise, as well as your own comfort level. Much of the estate planning process is up-close and personal, regarding family business or confidential information, and you should feel comfortable discussing this information with your planner. You can do an internet search, use the Yellow Pages, and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Your local Bar Association may also provide names and recommendations.
The cost of a basic estate plan can run between $500 and $2,500 depending on the complexities involved. A basic trust plan may run between $2,000 and $4,500, possibly more, depending on the size of the estate and the complexities involved. A good estate planning attorney will offer a consultation and will then give you an engagement letter with an estimate of what the plan will cost. This is a highly specialized area requiring the help of a competent, experienced individual.
Don’t settle for less. Small mistakes can lead to big problems for you and your beneficiaries.
In an effort to help you get organized and gather the information your attorney will need to advise you in preparing your estate plan, you can use our Will Planning Wizard.
The more you prepare beforehand, the less time your attorney will need to prepare your documents.