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How Much Should Estate Planning Cost?

Would you pick an estate plan that will cost you $950 or $10,000?

By David J. Zumpano

As an estate planning attorney who has been delivering workshops to thousands of individuals for more than 25 years, I have found that one of the most common questions participants are afraid to ask (but often do) is, “How much is this going to cost?”

While it is a typical question and a good one, it is the wrong question.

Let me show you why.

If I were to offer two estate plans, one that costs $950 and one that costs $10,000, which one would you choose? Well, for most people that’s easy: the $950 plan. But the problem is not with the plan you chose, it’s with the question you asked.

If you had asked a little more, you would have discovered that the $950 plan costs upward of $50,000 when you die and creates a lot of confusion and frustration for your surviving loved ones.

The $10,000 plan, on the other hand, only costs $5,000 when you die, and it provides extensive instructions and authority to your family and eliminates all frustration and complication. Now what would you rather pay?

The most important question in your planning is not how much it costs, but rather, how much do I pay for what I get, and does what I get meet my needs.

It’s kind of like Paul Harvey’s “The rest of the story.” It’s crucial that you know all of the story before you begin estate planning to ensure that you are properly planning now and later in the most efficient and least expensive manner overall.

That’s why the Estate Planning Law Center offers free workshops to identify all of the potential advantages or pitfalls to wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, revocable and irrevocable trusts, Medicaid, asset protection, and how to ensure that you plan properly to avoid having to ever go into a nursing home. The Estate Planning Law Center sells nothing at these workshops and, in fact, you cannot even hire anyone at them.

Understanding all the costs of estate planning will become clear so you can identify what you want your estate planning to accomplish and do it at the most economical price.

So don’t be fooled by the gimmicks and low prices. Get clear on what you want and what you need and ensure that what you have will accomplish it.

Attorney David Zumpano is the founder  of Estate Planning Law Center.

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