Let’s be honest: a major obstacle to proper estate planning for many people is the cost. Sometimes it’s hard to see how estate planning can save money, time, and headaches in the future when there’s a significant price tag in the present. That’s why estate planning lawyers want to let people in on some secrets that could save them money while still allowing them to put proper estate planning in place.
Do Your Research Before You Start Planning
Doing research is a great way to find out about your options when it comes to estate planning. Reading blog posts (like this one), watching YouTube videos, and attending free seminars are all great ways to learn more about estate planning and make better-educated decisions when it comes time to plan. While you’re doing your research, you should also think about the goals you want to accomplish, as they may impact how much your estate plan will cost.
Settle on a Budget
While you’re doing your research on estate planning, you should also think about your budget. This includes speaking with estate planning attorneys in your area to see if they work on an hourly or flat fee basis, as well as finding out if they offer complimentary consultations. Here’s one industry secret that may help: even if the attorney does charge a fee for an initial consultation, that fee will usually be credited towards the balance of your bill if you decide to let them help create your estate plan.
Know What – and Who – You Want in Your Estate Plan
Most estate planning lawyers will send an intake form before your initial consultation to gather as much useful information as possible and will also tell you which documents you should bring to your meeting. These documents can include real estate deeds, insurance policies, and bank statements. This will help give you an idea of what types of assets and property you’ll include in your estate plan. In addition, you’ll also want to think of who should be named in your documents and what kind of distributions your beneficiaries will receive. This information will help your attorney thoroughly prepare your estate plan, meaning there’s less chance of having to re-do documents if you change your mind or discover additional financial accounts.
If you have any questions about the estate planning process and what you need to know, please contact me at 916.801.4132 to schedule a consultation.