In creating your estate plan, we often look at whether you have a trust based estate plan or a will based estate plan. Part of whether you should have a trust based estate plan is how much money you should spend on an estate plan at this point in your life. The older you get the more likely you are to die and the more useful a trust based estate plan would be beneficial to your family. In our initial consultation, we will review your assets, your goals and your options. If a trust based plan works for you, we will quote you a fixed fee for our services. Importantly, our trust planning fees start as follows:
- Single person trust planning: $2,495
- Married couple trust planning: $2,995
These basic estate plans include the following documents:
- Last will and testament (a/k/a "pour over" wills)
- Durable power of attorney (with Medicaid planning powers, when applicable)
- Designation of healthcare surrogate
- Living will and review of end of life wishes
- Deed of property to trust
- Trust binder for future reference
- Scan of documents for future reference
- Trust Transfer Guidelines (directions on trust funding)
- Guide to Family Members upon Incapacity or Death
This is the base price for our trust planning, and we have other options based upon your desires and other complexities. The reality is that most people who create revocable living trusts do not actually "fund" their trusts. We have price planning options for us assisting with your trust funding, for protecting your children's inheritance from angry in-laws, creditors and Medicaid, and more.
There are no hidden costs and you will know our fee before we proceed. We do not charge by the hour, and we do not charge by the document. We will also not try to sell you annuities or other financial products, as will the “traveling trust salesmen” that come through our community.
More Cost Upfront, Less Cost in the Long Run
We charge a fair price for the value of the services we provide: our counseling, knowledge, continuing training and the unique process we use to assist you to solve your problems and address your concerns. Our initial fees may be a little higher than other attorneys in our community who charge for mere document preparation. However, mere document preparation is certainly not estate planning. Estate planning is a thoughtful process in which, through counseling and informed choices, we co-create a plan with you that addresses your problems and concerns to your satisfaction, and make sure you transfer your assets to your trust.
Elder Law and Estate Planning Together
Not all estate planning attorneys are created equal. The truth is that many estate planning attorneys know next to nothing about elder law, Medicaid planning, VA benefits planning and Special Needs Trusts. We see inadequate trusts, durable powers of attorney and advanced directives all the time that are not even close to the level of documents we create. As we do Medicaid and asset protection planning, we know all the best ways to create your estate plan to make sure your assets do not disappear to the nursing home. We also deal with end of life issues and health care advocacy, making our advanced directives better and more concise. We constantly train and attend continuing education to not just stay on top of the legal trends but to actually create them for other attorneys.
Integration of Estate Planning with Your Assets
The further reality of estate planning is that most people to not actually "fund" their estate plans. This means that many people do not transfer their assets to their trusts and do not change the beneficiaries to their life insurance/IRA/401k/annuities. Your estate planning documents and your assets must work together, and our experience is that many attorneys do not help their clients in this area, where we do.
We look forward to sitting down with you, to discussing your goals and working together to not just create good estate planning documents, but to creating a great estate plan.