What does estate planning cost?

One of the primary reasons people put off estate planning is concern over the cost. Creating a will, trust, and other estate planning documents will cost you some money up front. The exact cost of your estate plan will depend on the complexity of your needs, your geographic location, and your attorney’s level of experience. There are ways in which you can reduce the expense of your estate plan. Our California estate planning lawyers discuss the potential costs of an estate plan below. Just realize trying to save money now will cost your loved ones thousands more if your estate is forced into the probate process when you pass away.

Cost of a Basic Estate Plan

A basic estate plan in California will typically include the following documents for you and your spouse:

Wills
Powers of attorney
Medical powers of attorney
Medical directives

Prices for a basic estate plan vary widely depending on your region. Further, you may find that estate planning lawyers within your area have vastly differing prices dependent on their level of experience. It is not uncommon for attorneys to charge anywhere between $800 and $3,000, depending on the complexity of your estate planning needs. At times, your basic estate plan will further include a community or separate property agreement.

Cost of a Trust

A trust is not usually considered a part of your basic estate plan. For those with significant assets, a revocable living trust may be essential to reduce your taxable estate and allow your assets to pass directly to your named beneficiaries without the need for probate. Assets must be re-titled to the trust and any assets within the trust will not be considered a part of the probate estate.

Trusts can cost several thousand dollars, depending on your needs. A basic living trust may cost under $1,500, while a trust with numerous assets or a complex, multigenerational trust may cost far more. Discuss your needs with your estate planning attorney for an accurate price quote.

Keep in mind that your estate plan, while costing you some money up front, will save your family significant money in the long run. Your comprehensive estate plan will help your assets avoid a costly, lengthy probate process. It will further ensure that your heirs have the power to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated. An estate plan will cost you far less in the long run than dying intestate, so get started with your estate plan today.

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