Does Price Matter In Estate Planning?
I will be the first to tell you that cost should not be the top priority when looking for an estate planning attorney. Generally, the cheapest attorneys give you the most inexpensive service (I will admit, however, that this is not always the case). When it comes to estate planning, price should be one factor, but not the most critical factor. However, it would be foolish not to consider the price. Instead of looking to find the lowest price, you should search for the best value.
How will you know when an attorney is giving you value? First and foremost, they treat you and your plan as unique because every estate plan is individual. Attorneys that can quote you an exact price upfront without meeting with you are likely using a one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. Meaning, they will not tailor a plan to fit your needs but tailor your needs to match their prices. Talk about horrible service!
Another way to know if an attorney is adding value is if they seem to have the heart of a teacher. These attorneys are the best because they want you to understand and take ownership of your plan. They do not just draft documents; they give you advice and coaching on how to get the most benefit out of your plan.
“Ok, I understand that I am looking for value, but I still want to have an idea of pricing before I waste my time talking to an attorney.” I completely understand! There are several approaches attorneys take to combat this issue:
Most attorneys do not reveal any pricing before meeting with you. These attorneys are great because they genuinely intend to create a custom plan for you, but sometimes it can seem as if they are not transparent. If you are like most people, you want at least an idea of how much you will pay before you take the time to sit down for a consultation.
As mentioned before, some attorneys will list exact prices on their websites. Run far away from these attorneys because not all, but most, are using a one-size-fits-all approach to planning. Your wants and needs are unique! Do not get boxed in by their one-size-fits-all approach.
Finally, some attorneys include base prices for planning. These attorneys are typically creating unique plans, but they want to be as transparent as possible, so they advertise a base price. However, the problem is that there is always the chance that you will pay more (and many find that they do pay more). How much more? No one can say until you meet with the attorney. While I believe this approach is good, I think that there is a better approach.
A New Approach
The issue presented is trying to balance transparency in pricing and flexibility to create a unique estate plan for each client’s individual needs. I like the base pricing approach, but I do not personally like that I have no idea just how much I will be paying. There is no cap on price. So, I have decided that I will do the opposite with my pricing. My advertised pricing is the HIGHEST price you will pay for a given item or package, and that only applies if you have the most complex plan within that package. This way, you know the most you will pay for a particular package before scheduling a consultation with me. This is the best way to retain the flexibility to create a unique plan for you while also being transparent and giving you a cap on the cost.
As discussed initially, price should be a factor in choosing an estate planning attorney, but not the most critical factor. The overall value should be your top priority when selecting an estate planning attorney. However, it does not hurt to have an idea of the price range before using your valuable time to meet with an attorney. Although, be wary of those who quote exact prices as they usually do not have your best interest at heart. Also, a valuable attorney helps you create an estate plan specific to your wants and needs. They do this by teaching you about your plan and how to get the most out of your plan.
If you would like to discuss having your customized estate plan created, learn how to get the most out of your estate plan, or if you have further questions about estate planning, estate administration, and probate, schedule a time to talk with me. Furthermore, you can view my estate planning prices by clicking here.
When it comes to estate planning, price should be one factor, but not the most critical factor. A valuable attorney helps you create an estate plan specific to your wants and needs. They do this by teaching you about your plan and how to get the most out of your plan.