Tips to Reduce Estate Planning Fee Schedule Attorney Costs (from my experience)

The same estate planning attorney was hired twice by my wife and me. I didn’t follow my own guideline of getting an estate planning fee schedule before hiring an attorney. Was I surprised, to say the least? The expense of an estate planning attorney is high! It’s extremely costly if you don’t inquire about the schedule and pricing possibilities.

The cost of estate planning might range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Estate Attorney Planning Cost Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring an Attorney

1. Trusts Are Basic for Most People 

If you have children, you should form a trust right away to protect them. A Trust does not have to be complicated or expensive for the average American.

You should not be afraid to remind the estate planner that you want a basic Trust and try to negotiate a lower flat charge or a future amendment. New assets or a business, a newborn child, or a change of beneficiaries or guardians are all examples of revisions.

You plan your estate to keep your family and beneficiaries out of probate court.

2. Ask Family & Friends for Referrals

I started calling friends and family for comparable pricing after we received the outrageous bill for revising our Trust. I was astounded to learn that I was being paid far more than equivalent tasks. One of my friends hired an estate planning service that charges a flat fee and allows for limitless future adjustments. Even more surprising was the fact that his bid was significantly lower than the cost of the first setup and subsequent adjustments.

3. Ask for an Initial Meeting

The initial consultation with most estate planning attorneys is free. It is not a universal policy, and some people prefer to have their initial consultation over the phone. The time they spend with you takes away from the time they could be invoicing someone else.

4. Check Out the Attorney’s Office

I should have understood I was overpaying in hindsight. When I dropped off the check, they had a great view of the Chicago skyline from their office, which was located in an upscale building on an affluent street. My accountant, on the other hand, works out of a bare-bones office on the second floor of a run-down strip mall. They’re fantastic, and my annual bill is really inexpensive.

5. Be Prepared Ahead of the First Meeting

Prepare for your first meeting ahead of time to save time and money. Make a balance sheet of all your assets, as well as any possible assets you anticipate to acquire in the next years.

Discuss the beneficiaries, who will manage your minors’ assets, charities, life choices if you become incompetent, and other similar issues with your significant other.

6. Personalized Estate Planning Solutions

You’ll eventually need them to help you with estate planning for your current lifestyle and future goals.

Make sure you’re prepared for your first meeting. You are paying for the attorney’s time. If the attorney notices that you are disorganized and time-consuming, the planning fee will be higher. Let them to concentrate on preparing rather than trying to figure out your financial condition.

7. Always Ask for a Flat Fee Schedule

We’ve had two guardians for my children pass away since we first drafted the contracts, and our association with several charity has changed over time. We also wanted our trust to protect our children from receiving money too soon. No one can predict what their child will be like in their twenties, therefore I’d prefer postpone any bequest.

All of these alterations to our original trust were small.

We chose to work with the same estate planner because he was aware with our intentions and was the one who drafted the initial estate agreements.

What seemed like minimal work to me
was deemed to be a lot of work for the attorney.  Once complete, we
received a bill for about double what originally cost to create a trust, a
living trust, and put our The trust’s dwelling. When I questioned the
attorney, he said I essentially made the mistake of not asking for a flat fee
while he instead charged me per hour for the revisions.  I was speechless
given he was an acquaintance and it was considerably less work than the
original drafting.  

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Always inquire about the charges of an estate planning attorney ahead of time. Request a fixed price rather than an hourly fee from the estate counsel. Depending on where you live, an estate attorney’s hourly rate can range from $150 to $600.

8. Comparing Estate Planning Fee Schedules

I started phoning more friends and seeking more references after receiving my second bill. I was astounded to learn that some solicitors will not only charge you a fixed fee, but will also provide you with either restricted or limitless revisions throughout your lifetime.

Some lawyers offer estate planning packages that save you money over the course of your life. In retrospect, I would engage an estate counsel who would be willing to make unlimited amendments as my intentions and assets changed over time.

9. Estate Planning Binders

Once all of your estate planning solutions have been completed, the attorney will supply you with a summary of all legal paperwork.

One or more estate planning binders should be sent to you, containing documentation such as:

  • Both couples’ trust documents
  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • The Children’s Trust is a charitable organization dedicated to helping
  • Sent or to be moved financial accounts into the Trust
  • The trust’s tax identification number

Depending on the package you choose, the estate planning binders can range from simple to complex.

Put your estate planning binders somewhere secure, like a fireproof safe or a bank deposit box.

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