Are you part of the 60% of Americans who’ve put off the process of estate planning?
As we get older, it’s normal to try to block out the unpleasant aspects of aging, including preparing for our eventual death.
But, estate planning is the best thing you can do to make sure the important people you leave behind have access to everything you want them to have.
If you’re worried about estate planning costs and whether you can afford it, we’re here to help.
Keep reading to learn about the different types of estate planning billing methods and the average estate planning costs you can expect.
Different Types of Estate Planning Billing Methods
How you’ll be billed for your estate planning costs largely depends on who you hire. Different estate planning lawyers have different methods of billing, so make sure you ask about their billing structure before deciding on who to hire:
Billing by the Hour
Some estate planning attorneys bill their clients based on an hourly rate. This is especially common when you have more complicated estate planning needs that require more time and thought to put together.
In that case, your attorney’s hourly fee is usually based on experience, so the average estate planning attorney cost can vary greatly based on who you hire.
In some cases, your lawyer may ask for a prepayment, or retainer, upfront before starting to work on your estate plan.
If you’re looking for a more affordable, low-cost estate planning option, try to find an attorney that charges a flat rate for specific services.
Many lawyers who charge a flat rate for estate planning offer their services in different packages based on what you need. For example, one flat fee might include the following estate planning paperwork:
- A will
- Appointment of guardianship
- Powers of attorney for healthcare decisions, property, and finances
- A living will
Read this comprehensive guide on what you should include in your estate planning.
Average Estate Planning Costs
Whether you move forward with an estate planning attorney who charges by the hour or a flat fee, make sure that you get your fee agreement in writing.
In it, your lawyer should include the scope of the work they’re being paid to do, along with the fees they’re charging, and the payment terms.
This helps eliminate any confusion about what you’re paying and what you’re getting in return.
So, how much does estate planning cost on average? If you choose an attorney who’s billing hourly, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150 and $350 per hour, depending on their level of experience and the complexity of your plan.
If you’re paying a flat fee, it can range between $1,000 and $4,000 depending on everything you want to include. You’ll also pay a bit more for a couple’s estate plan vs a plan for an individual.
To get a deal you’re comfortable with, it’s best to contact several local attorneys to compare fees before making a decision.
Prepare for the Future
It’s never fun thinking about death, but it’s best to be prepared. Now that you have a better understanding of average estate planning costs, you can prepare for the future. As a result, it’ll give you more time to focus on the present!
Looking for more helpful advice? Read through our other articles before you go.