When making decisions about estate planning, nearly everyone has at least one common question: What will it cost? While my primary focus is always on getting the best outcomes for my clients and creating the best and most straight-forward plan for them, I am also very aware of the pressing concern of price. When I began practicing many years ago, I quickly learned that my clients were looking for the best advice and best guidance they could get—but also at a reasonable price. From the very beginning of my practice, I became committed to excellent service at reasonable rates.
Someone may be able to go online and create a cookie-cutter trust document—that may or may not suit their needs and may or may not be legally valid. Sometimes these are really low cost—perhaps only a few hundred dollars. Often these are also really low quality (or worse!). Some attorneys also offer very low cost “estate planning.” Unfortunately, this also frequently correlates to attorney inexperience and/or to very low-quality planning. “Will an online trust meet my needs?” I am sometimes asked. It “might”—but it probably will not.
I charge only flat fees for estate planning. That means free initial consultation, no additional charge for subsequent meeting and/or drafts of documents and one unchanging fee that is clear from the beginning of my service. I regularly provide a straightforward fee schedule to other professionals and to potential clients.
For an individual, I generally charge $1,600 to prepare a full gamut of estate planning documents (Will, trust, general power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, advance health directive, related real estate deeds). That fee would be only marginally higher for preparing all of those documents for both spouses or partners if I am working with such (generally $1900 total). In the event I am preparing something less than all of these documents, my fees would be reduced accordingly. For example, if a given situation requires simply having a trust in place, the cost may be about $900. Excellent service, experienced guidance and reasonable fees. These standards have proven to be the right way to serve my clients.