For the most part, people base buying decisions on price, but when it comes to legal services initial cost is not a reliable way to judge value. Hidden fees related to Will-centric legacy plans are a massive moneymaker for many estate planners. It's easy to keep these costs hidden, as they are not incurred until after death.
With a Will centered plan, when an individual dies, all assets go through probate before they get to where a Will determines. Probate prioritizes itself, the attorney, the executor, and other all creditors before the family. Even then, it often takes a year or more for families to get what is left to them.
Each of these fees, INDIVIDUALLY, costs 4% of the total assets for many Wills.
What this means for you, is that the estate planner who gave you a bargain basement Will for $200.00 and made themselves the executor can cash in when you die, taking 8% of your assets. If you paid $200.00 for a Will and have a $100,000.00 estate, your Will costs your family $8,200.00.
A good first step to avoid hidden costs would be to have a frank discussion with your estate planner. The person you and your family rely on to provide good legal advice should have no problem discussing real costs and benefits with you. Don't be afraid to ask your lawyer questions on how the Will will be executed, it's your car, you need to know how to drive it.
Most important, consider looking into other asset protection methods. It's easy to default to a Will because it is so ubiquitous. However your family's best protection is a comprehensive estate plan, put together by a professional.
The Will is the hammer that you use to build the house of your estate. It’s useful, but far from the only tool at your disposal. At Middleton Law, we want to supply you with not only the hammer but the saw, lumber, and proper zoning to build your legacy. Give us a call, email, or message on Facebook to set up your asset-protection consultation today!
Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney