With an estate plan, you can ensure that the assets you have collected throughout your life continue to support your family before or after you have passed. However, creating an estate plan comes at a cost. In an initial consultation, a Florida estate planning attorney can provide you with transparent information about potential legal costs so that you can make the right decisions for your and your family’s future.
While you can estimate the potential costs of your estate plan, you should know that no two estate plans are alike, and the costs associated with them are dependent on several key details. These could include the cost of the attorney you hire, the value of your estate, the type of estate planning you choose, and more. For instance, the cost of creating a simple will could be a minimum of $200, while a more complex estate plan involving multiple trusts could cost several thousands of dollars.
What is important to remember, however, is that estate planning is valuable for people of all ages who have varying estate values.
Deciding on an estate plan is a matter of identifying the way in which you want to define the future of your assets. The estate planning options you choose could impact the costs associated as well.
Many Floridians may choose a more traditional estate plan with a will, a living will, a power of attorney, and naming a surrogate for their healthcare. However, some may choose to use a trust, which structures the division of assets, allows the assets within the trust to bypass probate, and could potentially provide tax benefits.
For those who seek to establish a will, you may find it to be more cost-effective, with the average preparation and filing costs averaging at about $1,200 at maximum. A trust, because it is more involved, often comes with higher costs, with an average high-end cost of about $4,000. Again, the specific terms of your will or trust, the experience of your lawyer, and the details you include will cause your costs to vary.
A: The cost of your will is dependent on the type of will you create. For a simple will, you are identifying the person who will care for your children, how your assets will be divided, and to whom those assets will be distributed. This type of will may cost about $350. However, if your will is more complicated, your costs could rise as high as $1200 or more. It is advisable to speak with your attorney about your specific needs to gain a better understanding of potential costs.
A: Estate planning will involve several elements, including consultation, preparation, and the filing of your documents. Each of these steps comes with its own costs, which could be as little as a few hundred dollars. However, your attorney fees will increase the costs of your estate planning based on the experience of your attorney and the complexity of your needs. Most estate planning attorneys will charge between $250 and $350 per hour, but others could charge more or less.
A: You are not legally required to hire a lawyer to create a will in Florida. However, you are highly advised to do so. A lawyer can ensure that your will is legally valid and can stand up to potential contests. If you don’t hire a lawyer to oversee the creation of your will, it could be more susceptible to challenges in probate court. If it’s deemed invalid, your assets will have to be distributed according to intestate law.
A: Most estate plans will enter into the probate process; however, there are exceptions to this. Exceptions include assets in living trusts, joint retirement accounts, bank accounts labeled “transfer on death,” Florida homesteads, vehicles, furniture and appliances, and several others. For a complete list, speak with your estate planning attorney, who can help guide you through these assets as well as your entire estate plan.
The cost of your estate planning is a worthwhile expense to be sure that not only are your final wishes carried out as you desire but also that your family’s needs continue to be met through your support. No matter your needs or the size of your estate, working with an estate planning attorney can help ease the burden for your family after your death. If you need help with your estate plan, contact the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A.
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