People frequently delay drawing up a will or other pieces of an estate plan because of concern for the cost. However, the cost of preparing a simple estate plan package is very reasonable. Compared to the expense to handle your estate without a will or other estate planning documents, it is a bargain.
The prices stated below are ballpark estimates only, and subject to change over time and based on the details and complexities of each individual situation.
Parts Of A Complete Simple Estate Planning Package
When we visit with clients about estate planning, we generally talk about a number of parts to the package, not just a will or trust.
Most people focus on drawing up a will as “estate planning”. There are several other key documents, however, to cover how to handle major life events that would affect your “estate”. A key example is the possibility of becoming incompetent as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
These are the key documents we generally include in a simple estate planning package:
- A will (with or without trust provisions included)
- A statutory durable power of attorney
- A combination directive to physicians (living will), medical power of attorney, and HIPAA release
- A declaration of guardian
- Possibly a Lady Bird deed (transfer on death deed)
Some situations will call for more complicated estate planning such as special needs trust provisions in a will, a living trust, or other arrangements. However, for most people, a simple estate planning package is all they need.
Costs Of The Simple Package
A simple will—where a husband and wife leave their estate to each other on death and to adult children on the death of the survivor—usually would range between $500 and $750 for the fee per person.
If there are minor children whose interests you would want held in trust until you believe they are mature enough to manage their inheritance (they would receive the inheritance at age 18 otherwise), the cost will likely be $750 to $1,000 per person. Any other special trust provisions you include also will increase the cost, depending on their complexity. A special needs trust to provide for a beneficiary who may be receiving social security disability, Medicaid, or other government benefits, which you want to protect, will add considerable more expense to the package. However, an outright bequest to such person might disqualify them from receiving benefits which far exceed the cost of the special needs trust.
The statutory durable power of attorney, the combination directive to physicians (living will), medical power of attorney, HIPAA release, and declaration of guardian are lumped together in one fee structure. It is important to include these documents in your estate plan so that you are in charge of designating who will manage your financial affairs if you become incompetent, and who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. The cost of this package is $500 total per person.
If we prepare a Lady Bird or transfer on death deed to real estate you own, the fee for this generally ranges from $350 to $500 total, depending on the complexities of beneficiaries and the number of properties involved. In addition, there will be filing fees to record this deed wherever the real estate is located.
Ready to get started? Contact Adair M. Buckner using the button below and get a free initial consultation*.
*The free consultation does not cover actual review of documents or giving legal advice on a specific situation.