There are three factors when it comes to the cost of estate planning.
- Cost of Document Creation
- Cost of Maintenance
- Cost of Administration
When most people think of estate planning they think of the upfront cost alone, but estate planning should be looked at as an investment in your legacy. When we sit down with most people they believe that their estate is “simple” and that there aren’t speed bumps to consider. Through the process of counseling and education, it quickly becomes apparent there is a lot to take into consideration.
When using a professional attorney we take on the responsibility to make sure that our clients are educated and made fully aware of all their options. We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach and have them fill out a generic form we take look at what is most important to our clients and their families and help them create a plan that works for them.
The cost of maintenance should be something considered while estate planning. Once your plan is created it’s important to keep it updated. Your plan will not magically change as your life and your assets change. Many people set up their plans and don’t look at them again until retirement, but lots of things happen between first setting up an estate and retirement.
The third cost to consider is the cost of estate administration. We’ve all heard probate horror stories and while it’s true that probate can be costly, there is still administration that needs to be done. Whether you are using a trust-based or will-based plan there are costs associated with administration. There is compensation for trustees, for the attorney, and the cost of time to go through that administrative process. These other aspects to understand while planning your estate.
Now that you know the three factors when it comes to the cost of estate planning what is the cost of failing to not plan? The cost of not planning is much higher in the long run and includes the cost of hurt family relationships. When you don’t plan people assume certain things are going to happen and when they don’t families can disintegrate. The cost of loss of those family relations far outweighs the costs of getting the planning done.
When you work with a professional to get your estate planning done make sure you are working with someone who is truly an expert in the field and that they take the time to counsel and educate you on all your options.