Budgeting for peace of mind: How much does a foundation estate plan cost?

With regard to estate plans, one of the most common questions that new clients or potential clients have when they call our firm is, how much for just a basic estate plan? And that’s a real difficult question.  

You know basic, basic is defined as foundational and essential. In estate plans, there is no one-size-fits-all. Everybody has their own circumstances, their own wishes and desires. To accomplish those wishes and desires under your particular circumstances may require different tools, different documents, and different strategies than the next person. When people ask about a basic estate plan, usually our response is, there just is no such thing. I tell people it’s kind of like Sasquatch. You know, everybody thinks that Sasquatch, Bigfoot, is out there but no one’s actually ever seen that. A basic estate plan is a misnomer, it is a term that can really get you in trouble.  

If you’re going to plan for your estate, you want a customized estate plan. You want what is going to work for you, in your circumstances, and a plan that’s going to do what you want done. How can that be determined or defined as basic? How can I take someone else’s plan and apply that to you? Presumably you should not want that, you should want something that works for you. If you’re taking the steps, the time, the energy, and the expense to plan your estate, which is a very responsible thing to do for your loved ones, you should get a customized estate plan and estate plan that accomplishes what you want, the way you want it.  

Asking about fees and costs for basic estate plans really has no place. What you need to do is meet with, and in our firm you meet for free with one of our qualified and experienced estate planning attorneys, and go over your particular circumstances, your particular desires, wishes, goals and objectives, then together can formulate a plan that works for you. Once that plan is identified, then an appropriate cost for that plan can be discussed, but until then, it’s really hard to say your estate plan will cost this or your estate plan will cost that, and utilizing the term basic is really out of place.