Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

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ranchox
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Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2021 1:57 pm

Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ranchox »

We are in the market to get our Estate plan set up.

I have been working to simplify my assets over the years and have consolidated them to be less complex.
We have researched various topics to familiarize ourselves with Trusts, Wills, PoA, Medical directives, Guardianships of minor children etc.
We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
We have figured out that we will need a basic estate plan with all the above elements. Probably some verbiage about how and when spouses and children inherit the assets and distributions, in separate trusts.



Our estate is simple:
1 Primary Residence real estate
2 Taxable Brokerage accounts ($1.6M)
2 401ks ($1.4M)
2 Minor kids

Cost:

The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.

I feel this is very expensive at these prices and for the size and complexity of our estate.

At this rate – I explored Legal Zoom premium plans costing about $750 including all services. They also give unlimited consultation with an attorney for 1 year. The attorney also reviews all documents before finalizing and filing.


I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
sailaway
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by sailaway »

By dint of minor children and trusts, I would say this is not a simple estate plan. Your estate is worth more than $3M, surely it is worth less than $10k to get this right for your kids?
StartedAt22
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by StartedAt22 »

Don't pick up pennies in front of a steam roller.

You could save $1k on your estate plan and have your heirs end up forfeiting an extra $20k/yr in taxes.

This is not the right service to cheap out on in my opinion. I don't get the impression you're "cheaping out", but, maybe you're not fully weighing the impact a mis-step could have regarding estate planning.
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tibbitts
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by tibbitts »

I'm not an expert but wonder whether relocating every few years to a different state would be a factor? Should the documents be redone if you do that? It's one thing to spend $5+k once and another to spend $5+k every few years.
afan
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by afan »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:20 pm I'm not an expert but wonder whether relocating every few years to a different state would be a factor? Should the documents be redone if you do that? It's one thing to spend $5+k once and another to spend $5+k every few years.
You need to pay an attorney to review your estate plan periodically, even you you do not move. State and federal laws change. You need to update. If your have more children, or if they move out on their own, there may be a need to review the plans. If you are contemplating larger gifts or moving into assisted living, you need to review.

But the cost depends greatly on who you hire. The prices quoted would be a bargain for a senior partner at the downtown office of a big firm in a large city. You could probably get it significantly below that going to a small or one person practice in a suburb or small town. The details do not seem that complicated that you need high level legal firepower.

The problem will be finding someone in your price range whom you are confident knows what they are doing. It appears many people who write wills are not truly experts. Very difficult for lay people, like me, to distinguish an expert from a pretender.
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Sic Vis Pacem
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Sic Vis Pacem »

If you've quoted this out with a dozen firms, you've probably got the local market rate. An estate plan is for peace of mind, knowing that your affairs are in order and that you have not left problems for your loved ones after you pass. What's that worth to you?

It was worth $5k-$9k to me, and my NW is well shy of yours. Turned out to cost me a little less.

What are your options? If you live in a metro area, find a Chambers-rated estate attorney in a more rural area of your state. The rates are going to be lower outside of metro areas, and most estate law is state specific, not particular to any locality. (Note - small shops may not have as much paralegal support, so you're paying higher rates on the document prep, but hopefully less overall). Nothing needs to be in person now other than possibly witnessing the execution of the documents, which you can do at a local bank.

Or do Legalzoom. Caveat Emptor.
Colorado Guy
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Colorado Guy »

If I am your estate attorney, by all means YES! You NEED THIS! As an added bonus, I may be able to get you to request a trust, end of life documents, annual checkups and revisions, using me as an executor of your will, etc. A $$$ service that never ends....

IANAL :D
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm At this rate – I explored Legal Zoom premium plans costing about $750 including all services. They also give unlimited consultation with an attorney for 1 year. The attorney also reviews all documents before finalizing and filing.

I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
Not everyone. I used LegalZoom for an trust document, compared it with quite a few on file with the state, and also my neighbors. Did not see any magic sauce in the attorney provided documents, and didn't have to make any additions/substractions to the LegalZoom one. Then again, IANAL.

If I had complicated family relationships, unusual distribution of my assets upon death, vast real estate holdings, businesses, and maybe $5-10 million in other assets, then maybe I would be tempted to use an estate attorney. In full disclosure, my only experience with an attorney involving my dad who died was substantially less than positive.

Good luck!
JBTX
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by JBTX »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm We are in the market to get our Estate plan set up.

I have been working to simplify my assets over the years and have consolidated them to be less complex.
We have researched various topics to familiarize ourselves with Trusts, Wills, PoA, Medical directives, Guardianships of minor children etc.
We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
We have figured out that we will need a basic estate plan with all the above elements. Probably some verbiage about how and when spouses and children inherit the assets and distributions, in separate trusts.



Our estate is simple:
1 Primary Residence real estate
2 Taxable Brokerage accounts ($1.6M)
2 401ks ($1.4M)
2 Minor kids

Cost:

The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.

I feel this is very expensive at these prices and for the size and complexity of our estate.

At this rate – I explored Legal Zoom premium plans costing about $750 including all services. They also give unlimited consultation with an attorney for 1 year. The attorney also reviews all documents before finalizing and filing.


I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
To the extent you are leaving money in trusts, yes that range seems about right. That about the range I encountered several years ago. Personally I wouldn’t want to set up trusts, especially ones with IRAs if the IRAs are left in trust, on my own.
bombcar
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bombcar »

Nolo books are cheaper than that by a long shot.

I would at least try those before I paid for the whole plan because then at least I’d have some understanding what I wanted and was looking for.

$139 for https://www.willmaker.com/lander/pricing

Worst case? You spent $139 and learned a lot which will save the lawyers time when talking with him.

Ok maybe the worst case is you somehow fat finger the software in a legally binding way and leave everything including the kids and the dog to some random poster on bogleheads. But I assume you won’t do that :mrgreen:
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

What is simple about an estate with minor kids?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
tibbitts
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by tibbitts »

afan wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:46 pm The problem will be finding someone in your price range whom you are confident knows what they are doing. It appears many people who write wills are not truly experts. Very difficult for lay people, like me, to distinguish an expert from a pretender.
It sounds like (based on "in your price range") you're saying that paying enough would more or less guarantee better quality?
bombcar
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bombcar »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:22 pm What is simple about an estate with minor kids?
The eventual plan is usually pretty simple. The hard part is all the decisions and discussions.
Big Dog
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Big Dog »

a simple estate would not include minor children.

A simple estate is married/single, no exes, and adult & responsible heirs where you can make most, if not all, ToD/PoD.
bsteiner
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm We are in the market to get our Estate plan set up.

I have been working to simplify my assets over the years and have consolidated them to be less complex.
We have researched various topics to familiarize ourselves with Trusts, Wills, PoA, Medical directives, Guardianships of minor children etc.
We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
We have figured out that we will need a basic estate plan with all the above elements. Probably some verbiage about how and when spouses and children inherit the assets and distributions, in separate trusts.



Our estate is simple:
1 Primary Residence real estate
2 Taxable Brokerage accounts ($1.6M)
2 401ks ($1.4M)
2 Minor kids

Cost:

The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.

I feel this is very expensive at these prices and for the size and complexity of our estate.
...
This should be a routine matter for a good trusts and estates lawyer. But that doesn't make it "simple." They have to discuss the choices with you. They have to coordinate the life insurance and retirement benefits with the rest of the plan.

But what does shopping it around accomplish?

You're not buying the estimate. The cost of the same project can vary considerably from one client to another, depending on how much time the client requires in the decision making process.

It's likely to come out somewhere in that range, probably closer to the lower end than the higher end.
afan wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:46 pm ... the cost depends greatly on who you hire. The prices quoted would be a bargain for a senior partner at the downtown office of a big firm in a large city. You could probably get it significantly below that going to a small or one person practice in a suburb or small town. The details do not seem that complicated that you need high level legal firepower.
...
There are firms in between those two points that would be a good fit.
afan wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:46 pm ...
The problem will be finding someone in your price range whom you are confident knows what they are doing. It appears many people who write wills are not truly experts. Very difficult for lay people, like me, to distinguish an expert from a pretender.
I generally agree. However, you may be able to improve your chances by asking people you think might know, and checking their bios and their firms' websites. Writing for a professional journal counts for more than writing for a local weekly newspaper. Speaking for a bar association continuing legal education seminar counts for more than speaking at a local senior center.
Colorado Guy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:04 pm If I am your estate attorney, by all means YES! You NEED THIS! As an added bonus, I may be able to get you to request a trust, end of life documents, annual checkups and revisions, using me as an executor of your will, etc. A $$$ service that never ends....
...
It's possible that he/she lives in a state like California where probating a Will is difficult, and creating a revocable trust would be appropriate.

Health care documents (living Will and health care proxy, though the terminology varies from state to state) are routine and don't add much to the cost.

Annual checkups are a marketing gimmick.

We're not allowed to seek appointment as executor, though we're allowed to accept if the client wants us.
JBTX wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:11 pm ...
To the extent you are leaving money in trusts, yes that range seems about right. That about the range I encountered several years ago. Personally I wouldn’t want to set up trusts, especially ones with IRAs if the IRAs are left in trust, on my own.
The cost to prepare a Will providing for children in trust isn't much more than the cost to prepare a Will providing for children outright, though we would strongly discourage a client from providing for children outright (and one nationally prominent trusts and estates lawyer, now retired, would refuse to prepare a Will that provided for children outright).

Until the proposed regulations on required distributions came out a couple of years ago, drafting for IRAs in trust was more complicated. It no longer is.
tibbitts wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:28 pm
afan wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:46 pm The problem will be finding someone in your price range whom you are confident knows what they are doing. It appears many people who write wills are not truly experts. Very difficult for lay people, like me, to distinguish an expert from a pretender.
It sounds like (based on "in your price range") you're saying that paying enough would more or less guarantee better quality?
A higher price doesn't guarantee better quality, but it's difficult to get good quality at a price substantially less than what others charge.
bombcar wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:42 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:22 pm What is simple about an estate with minor kids?
The eventual plan is usually pretty simple. The hard part is all the decisions and discussions.
Agreed, though there would still be some time in the drafting.
Big Dog wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 5:08 pm a simple estate would not include minor children.

A simple estate is married/single, no exes, and adult & responsible heirs where you can make most, if not all, ToD/PoD.
That would be simple but it might be suboptimal since it would throw the assets into the chidren's estates for estate tax purposes and would expose them to the children's creditors and spouses, and Medicaid. TOD is also generally not a good idea for many reasons.
Dufus
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Dufus »

Mine was more complex and cost a little less.

I gave the attorney a laundry list of things we wanted to have covered via trusts in advance of our first meeting. I had previously read "Beyond the Grave" and a few Boglehead threads on trusts, so I had a good idea of what we wanted. I believe we will end up with 3 separate trusts. The attorney suggested some changes to what we wanted, and those changes made complete sense.

Under 5k

"This package includes Revocable Trust instruments, Certifications of Trust, Pour-Over Wills, Health Care Powers of Attorney combined with a Living Will, Durable Financial Powers of Attorney, HIPAA release forms, documents that specifically cover digital assets, and Action Items/asset analysis of next steps. "
Rebalance8472
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Rebalance8472 »

Are you still working? My employer offers a MetLife Legal Plan that includes estate planning as a covered service. It's available to sign up for during open enrollment and costs just over $12/month. I'm planning on enrolling next year and using it to create wills and a revocable trust. For ~$150 for the year it's worth a shot to potentially save thousands. The only "catch" I see is that it requires you to use an attorney that's agreed to accept the plan. In my area there are enough attorneys in the network that I feel comfortable I can find someone I like.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Sandtrap »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm We are in the market to get our Estate plan set up.

I have been working to simplify my assets over the years and have consolidated them to be less complex.
We have researched various topics to familiarize ourselves with Trusts, Wills, PoA, Medical directives, Guardianships of minor children etc.
We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
We have figured out that we will need a basic estate plan with all the above elements. Probably some verbiage about how and when spouses and children inherit the assets and distributions, in separate trusts.



Our estate is simple:
1 Primary Residence real estate
2 Taxable Brokerage accounts ($1.6M)
2 401ks ($1.4M)
2 Minor kids

Cost:

The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.

I feel this is very expensive at these prices and for the size and complexity of our estate.

At this rate – I explored Legal Zoom premium plans costing about $750 including all services. They also give unlimited consultation with an attorney for 1 year. The attorney also reviews all documents before finalizing and filing.


I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
to op:
Excellent input from "bsteiner".

to op:
Whatever price you pay for estate planning if it is not done for you well (whether legal counsel or DIY or etc) and marginally fits your needs, etc, or becomes problematic with time, etc. is too much.

Whatever price you pay for outstanding careful estate planning by excellent legal counsel that is done very well and fits all of your needs, is the right price, no matter that price.

Excellent estate planning legal counsel is highly qualified to judge what you need based on the size and complexity of your estate, etc.
And, it is a "process", and evolves as you are working with them.
Find someone who is competent and who you can work with initially and over time as you update and so forth.

I hope this is helpful for you.
j :D
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Clairvoyant
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Clairvoyant »

Comparing costs.

In the DC area we initially paid close to $7k in 2017-ish and about $3k to $4k for two revisions/restatements. (We were fools). I got tired of the lawyer’s laziness and mis-spellings and sought another lawyer.

Since the first documents were so lengthy, it would have been prohibitively expensive for another lawyer to review the documents.

Instead we created all new documents for our estate for a grand total of $4k for two wills, a trust, medical POA, regular POA. Additional documents, and instructions too.

All fees were paid in the Virginia suburbs of DC. I hope this helps.
Last edited by Clairvoyant on Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clairvoyant
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Clairvoyant »

Deleting duplicate post.
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Lee_WSP
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Colorado Guy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:04 pm If I am your estate attorney, by all means YES! You NEED THIS! As an added bonus, I may be able to get you to request a trust, end of life documents, annual checkups and revisions, using me as an executor of your will, etc. A $$$ service that never ends....

IANAL :D
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm At this rate – I explored Legal Zoom premium plans costing about $750 including all services. They also give unlimited consultation with an attorney for 1 year. The attorney also reviews all documents before finalizing and filing.

I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
Not everyone. I used LegalZoom for an trust document, compared it with quite a few on file with the state, and also my neighbors. Did not see any magic sauce in the attorney provided documents, and didn't have to make any additions/substractions to the LegalZoom one. Then again, IANAL.

If I had complicated family relationships, unusual distribution of my assets upon death, vast real estate holdings, businesses, and maybe $5-10 million in other assets, then maybe I would be tempted to use an estate attorney. In full disclosure, my only experience with an attorney involving my dad who died was substantially less than positive.

Good luck!
Either your plan follows intestacy, so there’s no value either way, or you just don’t understand the nuances.

Unless you’ve read hundreds of these including ones with bypass and descendants trusts you just don’t know what you don’t even know.
bsteiner
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

Rebalance8472 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:31 pm ... My employer offers a MetLife Legal Plan that includes estate planning as a covered service. It's available to sign up for during open enrollment and costs just over $12/month. I'm planning on enrolling next year and using it to create wills and a revocable trust. For ~$150 for the year it's worth a shot to potentially save thousands. The only "catch" I see is that it requires you to use an attorney that's agreed to accept the plan. ...
That's a major "catch."
afan
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by afan »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:28 pm
afan wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:46 pm The problem will be finding someone in your price range whom you are confident knows what they are doing. It appears many people who write wills are not truly experts. Very difficult for lay people, like me, to distinguish an expert from a pretender.
It sounds like (based on "in your price range") you're saying that paying enough would more or less guarantee better quality?
Not exactly. I am saying that the legal market apparently supports a wide range of prices for the same services. The big shot partner charges $1,000/hour (or more) for whatever they do, even for a simple case. The small town lawyer charges a fraction of that. If you have a truly complex situation, the senior partner probably deals with those regularly. The small town lawyer, perhaps never.

But if you do not have a legally complex situation, then you might end with with effectively the same plan from two ends of the spectrum, or anywhere in between, on costs. Provided both attorneys know what they are doing. The hard part is finding someone who knows what they are doing. The well-known expert who has a successful practice in a big firm has the competitiveness of the legal market and the bench of other experts at the firm who have at least a general idea of what your lawyer is doing to reassure you that they are competent. No guarantees, but safer than shopping by price out of internet listings.

On Chambers- I asked on here about that and other sources to evaluate the expertise of attorneys. The responses suggested that this company targets the most prominent, highest cost, most heavily marketed attorneys. I gathered that a small firm in a small town is unlikely to undertake the process to place an attorney on that list, or to be successful in the effort.

From that thread and others there were some fans of ACTEC fellow as an indicator of expertise. Others said that many fellows do not do client work (professors, judges) and those who do may or may not be at the top of the field. Some recommended Martindale Hubbell, while others said that tanking was unreliable.

At least, that has been my take.
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afan
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by afan »

Lee_WSP wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:41 pm Unless you’ve read hundreds of these including ones with bypass and descendants trusts you just don’t know what you don’t even know.
To which I would add that you don't know what you don't know if you have not been practicing for years, seen the problems that can arise from mistakes, understand how to avoid them and can tell clients when they are headed into danger.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
Colorado Guy
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Colorado Guy »

Lee_WSP wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:41 pm
Either your plan follows intestacy, so there’s no value either way, or you just don’t understand the nuances.

Unless you’ve read hundreds of these including ones with bypass and descendants trusts you just don’t know what you don’t even know.
That's quite an interesting comment. While my comments are somewhat tongue in cheek, it does reflect my experiences. Please note the emoji use and the IANAL comments. I have not read "hundreds" of trusts, but I did read in-depth at "dozens" of trusts on file in my local county office, and even compared it with some close neighbors who used a lawyer for their trust setup. Those trusts did not contain any secret magic sauce, or anything special that I did not find already addressed in multiple available documents. For a personal opinion, I would also doubt if many estate lawyers also have not read hundreds of trusts either, but simply use a standard format document (generally referred to as "boilerplate") they have used many times.

As a reminder, the OP was looking for a Simple Estate Plan, and stated
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm Our estate is simple:
Honest question, why did you bring up intestacy? If I understand correctly, intestacy is for someone who dies without a valid will, and may have a lot of debts to be settled. The OP indicated they were performing lots of research on what was required. "Trusts, Wills, PoA, Medical directives, Guardianships of minor children etc". Seems like they are doing their due diligence. What would a lawyer suggest they also investigate?

I understand that there are lots of intracacies in the legal mine field. Some people will need professional services, others will not. Did I mention using LegalZoom and not validating it by looking at existing items? I did not. I have reviewed (and even written) too many legal contracts to blindly trust a printed document without analysis (blame that on my engineering and executive management background).

(the following is NOT an advertisement) For better or worse, LegalZoom was founded by lawyers. It seems to recognize that for many situations (not all of course) a simple document (ie, boilerplate document) is sufficient. My understanding is that millions of people have used LegalZoom. Surely you are not suggesting that these millions of people are all at risk? I would expect at this point that LegalZoom has reviewed many more wills/trusts/estate related documents than almost all lawyers, due to their large client base and in-house lawyers.
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm I know everyone says, not to use LegalZoom or platforms alike for this service, but the steep cost of $5k+ is making me wonder if it's worth that much more, in the situation we are in? What are our other options?
I was providing an alternate opinion to the OP that not everyone is against LegalZoom or similar platforms. The choice is theirs.
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Lee_WSP
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Colorado Guy wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:32 am
Lee_WSP wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:41 pm
Either your plan follows intestacy, so there’s no value either way, or you just don’t understand the nuances.

Unless you’ve read hundreds of these including ones with bypass and descendants trusts you just don’t know what you don’t even know.
That's quite an interesting comment. While my comments are somewhat tongue in cheek, it does reflect my experiences. Please note the emoji use and the IANAL comments. I have not read "hundreds" of trusts, but I did read in-depth at "dozens" of trusts on file in my local county office, and even compared it with some close neighbors who used a lawyer for their trust setup. Those trusts did not contain any secret magic sauce, or anything special that I did not find already addressed in multiple available documents. For a personal opinion, I would also doubt if many estate lawyers also have not read hundreds of trusts either, but simply use a standard format document (generally referred to as "boilerplate") they have used many times.


I was providing an alternate opinion to the OP that not everyone is against LegalZoom or similar platforms. The choice is theirs.
You’re not wrong. A lot of attorneys like to just do the simple trusts and churn them out. However, what you’re paying for with them is not going to make a mistake that is going to cost your Ayres a lot of money to fix in the future. There is actually a correct way to fill out the legal zoom questionnaire.

The better alternative to LegalZoom is intestacy. There are too many unknown mines in the the LegalZoom document.
JustGotScammed
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by JustGotScammed »

Seems like you're just being cheap and trying to underpay for a service you need. If you need a trust, hire a lawyer who does trusts. Otherwise, it seems like you have champagne tastes on dollar-beer prices.
Carol88888
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Carol88888 »

I do sympathize because I shelled out exactly $9000 for an irrevocable trust. I thought it was highway robbery at the time but I do have a large estate and I wanted to get it right.

I figured it was a one-time deal and my heirs would thank me for it.
bsteiner
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

afan wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:52 am ... I am saying that the legal market apparently supports a wide range of prices for the same services. The big shot partner charges $1,000/hour (or more) for whatever they do, even for a simple case. The small town lawyer charges a fraction of that. If you have a truly complex situation, the senior partner probably deals with those regularly. The small town lawyer, perhaps never.

But if you do not have a legally complex situation, then you might end with with effectively the same plan from two ends of the spectrum, or anywhere in between, on costs. Provided both attorneys know what they are doing. The hard part is finding someone who knows what they are doing. The well-known expert who has a successful practice in a big firm has the competitiveness of the legal market and the bench of other experts at the firm who have at least a general idea of what your lawyer is doing to reassure you that they are competent. No guarantees, but safer than shopping by price out of internet listings.

On Chambers- I asked on here about that and other sources to evaluate the expertise of attorneys. The responses suggested that this company targets the most prominent, highest cost, most heavily marketed attorneys. I gathered that a small firm in a small town is unlikely to undertake the process to place an attorney on that list, or to be successful in the effort.

From that thread and others there were some fans of ACTEC fellow as an indicator of expertise. Others said that many fellows do not do client work (professors, judges) and those who do may or may not be at the top of the field. Some recommended Martindale Hubbell, while others said that tanking was unreliable.
...
There's no litmus test. But if you get some names and check their bios and their firms' websites, you can probably get a good sense of who's likely to be suitable.

The senior lawyers at the large firms are around $2,000 or sometimes more than $2,000.

The services that you'll get from someone billing $2,000 at a major firm and from someone at the opposite end of the spectrum are not the same any more than a $3,000 car would be the same as a $30,000 car pr a $300,000 car, or a $30 dress would be the same as a $300 dress or a $3,000 dress, but you can (if they pass inspection) drive any of those cars and (if they fit) you can wear any of those dresses.

The original poster's estate is $3 million (plus, most likely, life insurance -- he/she may not think of the life insurance as an asset, but it's like cash in the estate planning context). So $9,000 would be overkill. But he/she could probably get something good for less than that. Depending on the size and level of the firm and the size of the city, he might be able to get something good at the lower end of the range he/she mentioned, and most likely in the middle of that range.

But if he/she has already shopped it around to a dozen lawyers, there's no purpose to him/her continuing to inquire.

A nationally prominent trusts and estates lawyer, now retired, did a Will for himself on LegalZoom (not to sign it, but just to see how it worked). He said it worked well, and that it allowed almost all of the choices he would have wanted. But he knew which choices to select. Someone else might not.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ETK517 »

You might (*might*) get a legally valid will that actually accomplishes your goals through LegalZoom or something similar. That is not the level of confidence I'd want to have in my estate plan, particularly if I had minor children.

As for the "unlimited access" to a lawyer for one year for $750 - there have been many topics here about similar plans that are effectively useless, and certainly not unlimited. And not to disparage anyone, but imagine the quality of lawyer who would sign up to work unlimited hours for some trivial amount of money.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by celia »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm
Our estate is simple:
1 Primary Residence real estate
2 Taxable Brokerage accounts ($1.6M)
2 401ks ($1.4M)
2 Minor kids
It would be simpler and cost less if you remove the minors from your estate and make them beneficiaries instead.
:D

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:22 pm What is simple about an estate with minor kids?
The costs and complexity for kids being minors or self-sufficient adults was the same for us (while taking inflation into account). They no longer need a guardian and someone to manage their money but now will have individual sub-trusts that were canned paragraphs with each kid's name inserted in their paragraph.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

ETK517 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:21 pm ...

As for the "unlimited access" to a lawyer for one year for $750 - there have been many topics here about similar plans that are effectively useless, and certainly not unlimited. And not to disparage anyone, but imagine the quality of lawyer who would sign up to work unlimited hours for some trivial amount of money.
I think that's a marketing gimmick. I don't know anyone who actually does that.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Dufus »

I had a legal plan through an employer in the Fortune 50. The wills that were covered by the plan were basic. First lawyer I went to was awful, then found another that other folks at work recommended. He seemed really nice. He's in prison now.
ETK517
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ETK517 »

bsteiner wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:29 pm
ETK517 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:21 pm ...

As for the "unlimited access" to a lawyer for one year for $750 - there have been many topics here about similar plans that are effectively useless, and certainly not unlimited. And not to disparage anyone, but imagine the quality of lawyer who would sign up to work unlimited hours for some trivial amount of money.
I think that's a marketing gimmick. I don't know anyone who actually does that.
Agreed, but I am trying to encourage those gullible enough to fall for it to consider the quality of legal services you would receive if in fact you could get "unlimited" time with a lawyer for $750.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by afan »

bsteiner wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:47 am
The senior lawyers at the large firms are around $2,000 or sometimes more than $2,000.

The services that you'll get from someone billing $2,000 at a major firm and from someone at the opposite end of the spectrum are not the same any more than a $3,000 car would be the same as a $30,000 car pr a $300,000 car, or a $30 dress would be the same as a $300 dress or a $3,000 dress, but you can (if they pass inspection) drive any of those cars and (if they fit) you can wear any of those dresses.

Thanks for the clarifications. I obviously was looking at old data for hourly rates.
As to whether one would get the same plan, I supposed I hope so, if both lawyers know what they are doing. For someone with a relatively straightforward situation, I imagined that the good attorney in a small firm in a small market would recommend a plan substantially similar to one that would be offered by the big firm lawyer. What sorts of things would the senior partner add that the lower cost but competent lawyer would omit?

As someone who buys used cars that were inexpensive when new and drives them until they die, I look at any car as "a car." I grant that a $300,000 car may be different than my car. But in terms of Point A to Point B transportation, I would view them as equivalent to my cheap used car. For the Big Law partner, will there be differences that matter to a client with a simple set of needs? That might be a reason to pay the big shot. What might they do differently?
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Well, people without a million dollars of disposable income should not be purchasing the 300k car and it’s going to be painful to buy the 30k dress.

Big law firms are able to do things like do in-house valuations, set up a private foundation, etc., etc.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by afan »

I know there are things a big firm COULD do. I accept that there are some people who need a complex estate plan to achieve their goals and who can easily pay for it.

My question was whether someone like the OP would need any of that. For a client with a low single digit million networth, simple nuclear family, no complex investments, etc, would the big firm plan or execution be different? If so, how?
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

afan wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:21 pm My question was whether someone like the OP would need any of that. For a client with a low single digit million networth, simple nuclear family, no complex investments, etc, would the big firm plan or execution be different? If so, how?
It'd probably be the same or nearly the same documents. But I'm that small firm guy in BFE. Even the large firms around here don't charge $2k for a senior partner. We have a small market mindset on fees still.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by toblerone »

$5k-$9k sounds high, but like others said I would not cheap out.

We recently went through this and purchased the "Living Trust Package" from a reputable big city law firm that specializes in wills and trusts. The package was the most expensive to choose from, and was a flat fee of $2600 including recording fees. Our situation was not necessarily simple (2nd marriages, blended family), but I think cheaper using a specialized law firm that only does wills and trusts. I would try to find one like that near a major metro area.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

afan wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:31 pm
bsteiner wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:47 am
The senior lawyers at the large firms are around $2,000 or sometimes more than $2,000.

The services that you'll get from someone billing $2,000 at a major firm and from someone at the opposite end of the spectrum are not the same any more than a $3,000 car would be the same as a $30,000 car pr a $300,000 car, or a $30 dress would be the same as a $300 dress or a $3,000 dress, but you can (if they pass inspection) drive any of those cars and (if they fit) you can wear any of those dresses.

Thanks for the clarifications. I obviously was looking at old data for hourly rates.
As to whether one would get the same plan, I supposed I hope so, if both lawyers know what they are doing. For someone with a relatively straightforward situation, I imagined that the good attorney in a small firm in a small market would recommend a plan substantially similar to one that would be offered by the big firm lawyer. What sorts of things would the senior partner add that the lower cost but competent lawyer would omit?

...
The large firm wouldn't be interested in someone in the original poster's situation. The one in the middle would take someone in that situation though not the original poster if they found out that he/she had been shopping it around so extensively.

The better lawyers are more likely to recommend more flexible plans. The credit shelter trust will be more flexible. The children's trusts won't mandate or limit distributions. There will be provisions for successor trustees -- not necessarily by name, but there will be a procedure by which successor trustees may be designated. They'll consider state estate taxes and state income taxes. They'll coordinate the beneficiaries for the life insurance and retirement benefits with the estate plan.
Lee_WSP wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:07 pm Well, people without a million dollars of disposable income should not be purchasing the 300k car and it’s going to be painful to buy the 30k dress.

Big law firms are able to do things like do in-house valuations, set up a private foundation, etc., etc.
It's better to have independent appraisal firms do appraisals.

Private foundations aren't an everyday thing, but a law firm with a good trusts and estates practice should be able to set them up.
afan wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:21 pm I know there are things a big firm COULD do. I accept that there are some people who need a complex estate plan to achieve their goals and who can easily pay for it.

My question was whether someone like the OP would need any of that. For a client with a low single digit million networth, simple nuclear family, no complex investments, etc, would the big firm plan or execution be different? If so, how?
A large firm probably wouldn't take on someone at the original poster's level. But if they have some life insurance they might be in the mid-7 figures rather than the low 7 figures. So he/she might want someone at a reasonable level. Of course, given his/her budgetary constraints, that may be difficult for him/her to find.
toblerone wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:17 pm $5k-$9k sounds high, but like others said I would not cheap out.

We recently went through this and purchased the "Living Trust Package" from a reputable big city law firm that specializes in wills and trusts. The package was the most expensive to choose from, and was a flat fee of $2600 including recording fees. Our situation was not necessarily simple (2nd marriages, blended family), but I think cheaper using a specialized law firm that only does wills and trusts. I would try to find one like that near a major metro area.
"Package," "to choose from," "flat fee," and a very low price raise enough red flags to make a parade. You shouldn't be buying documents. You should be buying the lawyer's time, advice and expertise.

They shouldn't be giving you a bunch of packages to choose from. They should recommend the plan that best accomplishes your objectives -- in other words the degree of control the surviving spouse should have, and the age at which each child gains control over his/her trust. The beneficiary designations for the life insurance and retirement benefits should be coordinated with the plan.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by toblerone »

bsteiner wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:42 pm "Package," "to choose from," "flat fee," and a very low price raise enough red flags to make a parade. You shouldn't be buying documents. You should be buying the lawyer's time, advice and expertise.

They shouldn't be giving you a bunch of packages to choose from. They should recommend the plan that best accomplishes your objectives -- in other words the degree of control the surviving spouse should have, and the age at which each child gains control over his/her trust. The beneficiary designations for the life insurance and retirement benefits should be coordinated with the plan.
The package was chosen after the initial consultation and accomplished our objectives, checking the box with everything you mentioned. I was surprised how thorough and professional they were for the price. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with using a specialty firm that is good at what they do, and efficient (in my limited example).
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by EricGold »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
Free consultations are expensive, and you racked up 12 of them
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by MrJones »

bombcar wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:14 pm Nolo books are cheaper than that by a long shot.

I would at least try those before I paid for the whole plan because then at least I’d have some understanding what I wanted and was looking for.

$139 for https://www.willmaker.com/lander/pricing

Worst case? You spent $139 and learned a lot which will save the lawyers time when talking with him.
+1, getting the NOLO book on trusts and Willmaker software is well worth it, as I found it ot be a quality educational experience IMHO. Prepares you well for discussions with a lawyer.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by MrJones »

OP, I have a slightly different take. Read bsteiner's posts in this thread and elsewhere, and the sample issues he's brought up to consider. What would that level of advice be worth to you? Personally, it'd be well worth 9k or above for me. The actual problem then is not whether 5k-9k is worth it (since most of them cost that much anyway), but to find a lawyer who makes it seem like 9k is a steal for the value they bring you and your situation.

In my experience however, finding a lawyer like that is quite non-trivial. The first lawyer I went with a while ago was a bit over 5k. Great at marketing himself, but ended up being essentially a trust mill, and only asked somewhat low-level questions from a template, which I didn't get value out of since I'd already read excellent books.

Finding a lawyer that can provide a high level of guidance for your situation, and informing, guiding, and warning you of things you never knew or considered is where the value is IMHO. I'd encourage you to try to get a solid feel for this during free initial consults, and to do as many as you need until you find a lawyer that is clearly insightful and engages well with your questions. Use bsteiner's posts above to a) craft your questions b) evaluate if the lawyer is meeting the bar set by bsteiner's posts here.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ThankYouJack »

ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
My concern isn't so much the initial cost, but the cost to update and maintain everything - is spending thousands every few years as things change typical?

I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:46 am
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
My concern isn't so much the initial cost, but the cost to update and maintain everything - is spending thousands every few years as things change typical?

I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
Your plan just mirrors intestacy in most states. There isn’t much to update until the children become trustworthy enough to nominate as trusted persons. I build it into my documents, but I don’t actually know of any other attorneys who think of that.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by J295 »

As I understand what OP has described, the estate plan would be straightforward for my old firm (ACTEC, law review, law school adjuncts, etc in estate planning group). Our community of modest size in middle America would have a lower cost. There can be a substantial divergence in cost from place to place.

I would not recommend proceeding DIY. The financial well-being of the survivors, particularly minor children, is too important to let cost unreasonably interfere with a good outcome.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ThankYouJack »

Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 11:49 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:46 am
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
My concern isn't so much the initial cost, but the cost to update and maintain everything - is spending thousands every few years as things change typical?

I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
Your plan just mirrors intestacy in most states. There isn’t much to update until the children become trustworthy enough to nominate as trusted persons. I build it into my documents, but I don’t actually know of any other attorneys who think of that.
Thanks, I was just reading through my documents and there are certain things I want to change. It shouldn't take long if I have everything mapped out but not sure how much it'll cost to update.

Also, our assets have grown to the point where we're considering a discretionary trust so I'm looking into the pros and cons. I imagine that would be significant in terms of cost. If I or my spouse ever becomes a single parent while our kids are young a it definitely makes sense to update, but I do like keeping things simple (and cheap) at this point because there's such a slim chance of it coming into play. Will do some more reading, including on here and talk to my attorney.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by Lee_WSP »

ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:19 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 11:49 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:46 am
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
My concern isn't so much the initial cost, but the cost to update and maintain everything - is spending thousands every few years as things change typical?

I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
Your plan just mirrors intestacy in most states. There isn’t much to update until the children become trustworthy enough to nominate as trusted persons. I build it into my documents, but I don’t actually know of any other attorneys who think of that.
Thanks, I was just reading through my documents and there are certain things I want to change. It shouldn't take long if I have everything mapped out but not sure how much it'll cost to update.

Also, our assets have grown to the point where we're considering a discretionary trust so I'm looking into the pros and cons. I imagine that would be significant in terms of cost. If I or my spouse ever becomes a single parent while our kids are young a it definitely makes sense to update, but I do like keeping things simple (and cheap) at this point because there's such a slim chance of it coming into play. Will do some more reading, including on here and talk to my attorney.
If it’s only a few names, it would only take one to two hours to draft up and print out the changes and then another hour hour and a half for the signing ceremony. I would charge you accordingly however other attorneys do things differently they may charge you the full plan cost half the cost or anything.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by bsteiner »

EricGold wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 12:04 am
ranchox wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:59 pm We have talked with a dozen estate attorneys /their offices.
The cost for these services quoted is between $5k and $9k.
Free consultations are expensive, and you racked up 12 of them
Agreed. They probably spent at least $9,000 worth of attorney time on them. It's not appropriate. Lawyers sell their time, advice and expertise, not documents.
MrJones wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:32 am OP, I have a slightly different take. Read bsteiner's posts in this thread and elsewhere, and the sample issues he's brought up to consider. What would that level of advice be worth to you? Personally, it'd be well worth 9k or above for me. The actual problem then is not whether 5k-9k is worth it (since most of them cost that much anyway), but to find a lawyer who makes it seem like 9k is a steal for the value they bring you and your situation.

In my experience however, finding a lawyer like that is quite non-trivial. The first lawyer I went with a while ago was a bit over 5k. Great at marketing himself, but ended up being essentially a trust mill, and only asked somewhat low-level questions from a template, which I didn't get value out of since I'd already read excellent books.

Finding a lawyer that can provide a high level of guidance for your situation, and informing, guiding, and warning you of things you never knew or considered is where the value is IMHO. I'd encourage you to try to get a solid feel for this during free initial consults, and to do as many as you need until you find a lawyer that is clearly insightful and engages well with your questions. Use bsteiner's posts above to a) craft your questions b) evaluate if the lawyer is meeting the bar set by bsteiner's posts here.
Thanks for the kind words. Please send $9,000 to the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy or your favorite charity.

I agree that it can be difficult to find someone, but if you ask people you think would know, and get some names, and check their bios and their firms' websites, you may be able to get a sense of who might be a good fit. Writing for a professional journal counts for more than writing for a local weekly newsletter. Speaking at a bar association continuing legal education program counts for more than speaking at a local senior center.

Please don't ask for free consultations. The first meeting is the most valuable time. I can more easily delegate other aspects such as drafting, researching, and meeting with the client to sign the documents, but I can't easily delegate the initial meeting. Don't do what the initial poster did and meet with a large number of lawyers. Would you meet with a dozen doctors for a routine matter? Would you meet with a dozen dentists before having one fill a cavity?

The lawyer should be the one asking the questions.
ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:46 am ...
My concern isn't so much the initial cost, but the cost to update and maintain everything - is spending thousands every few years as things change typical?

I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
The cost to update your Wills is usually less. We have electronic copies so we can copy them and make the appropriate changes. It's easier to update your family and asset information than to start from scratch. We know what choices you made the last time.

You should review your planning whenver your situation changes, or the law changes in a way that would change your plan. Your Will may be good for a while, but like a car or a pair of shoes, eventually it's time for a new one.

While the likelihood that you and your spouse will die at the same time is small, the likelihood that you and your spouse will die separately is large.
Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 11:49 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:46 am ...
I have a trust under will (that was very inexpensive with a great attorney) that I feel is pretty good. If I die, everything goes to my spouse and vice versa. The chance of us both dying simultaneously and our kids surviving us is extremely unlikely and not a concern. And even if that is that the case, we still have the basic trust in place.

With that said, it's been about 7 years and I probably should update things with my attorney again. It does seem like an ongoing cost.
Your plan just mirrors intestacy in most states. There isn’t much to update until the children become trustworthy enough to nominate as trusted persons. I build it into my documents, but I don’t actually know of any other attorneys who think of that.


Providing for children to gain control of their trusts at a specified age should be routine. Of course, at some point you might change the age, or (depending on how the child turns out) decide that a child should never control his/her trust.
ThankYouJack wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:19 pm ... I was just reading through my documents and there are certain things I want to change. It shouldn't take long if I have everything mapped out but not sure how much it'll cost to update.

Also, our assets have grown to the point where we're considering a discretionary trust so I'm looking into the pros and cons. I imagine that would be significant in terms of cost. If I or my spouse ever becomes a single parent while our kids are young a it definitely makes sense to update, but I do like keeping things simple (and cheap) at this point because there's such a slim chance of it coming into play. Will do some more reading, including on here and talk to my attorney.
If you're updating your Will, it won't cost much more to include discretionary trusts for your children (no other type of trust would make sense), or to include a discretionary trust for your spouse (no other type of trust would make sense, even if it's just a disclaimer trust as backup).

Why didn't you have discretionary trusts in your existing Will?

Except in the unlikely event that you and your spouse die at the same time, it's a certainty that one of you will become a single parent. It shouldn't matter whether that happens when your children are young or when they're no longer young.
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Re: Simple Estate Plan worth $5k-$9k?

Post by ThankYouJack »

bsteiner wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 9:56 pm
Why didn't you have discretionary trusts in your existing Will?

Except in the unlikely event that you and your spouse die at the same time, it's a certainty that one of you will become a single parent. It shouldn't matter whether that happens when your children are young or when they're no longer young.
Actually, I just saw the discretionary trust part if my Will so I should be all set there (I was thinking it would be longer / more formal). It had been many years since I reviewed it, so I should probably go through it more often.

My thinking is a trust under will is fine for two healthy parents in their 30's or 40's and then switch to a living trust later in life.

If the OP is not setting up a living trust, $5k-$9k seems high to me.
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