If you’re visiting this site to find out what we charge for a Will or you are considering calling us (or any other law firm) to ask, “How much do you charge for a Will?” stop.
That’s not the right question.
The first question you need an answer to is, “What should I have in place to ensure me, my family, and my money are protected the way I want?”
Far too many people base their estate planning process on what it’s going to cost. Sometimes it turns out okay. Most of the time doesn’t.
The real problem is that you just don’t know what you need yet.
When you download a will template from the internet or fill out pre-printed documents from a book or buy a Do-It-Yourself kit from the office supply store, you don’t really know what you are actually putting into place.
Unfortunately, if tragedy strikes, it’s your family who will be left holding the bag.
It’s not uncommon for “cheap” estate planning documents to miscarry the decedent’s goals and fail to protect their family from probate, guardianship issues, high fees and taxes, and a host of other problems.
When you hire me, you aren’t just paying for documents.
When you hire me, you aren’t merely renting my time. I will give you my best legal counsel and my heartfelt personal support. I will become an ally who will help you get your affairs in order, and keep them there, no matter what future changes occur in your life, the law, or tax policies.
You get legal documents, yes, but you get something much more important, too. When you hire me you gain my guidance throughout your lifetime as well as the peace of mind knowing I’ll be there for your loved ones when you can’t be.
So, when you call and ask me, “how much for a Will?” I can’t really give you an answer because I don’t in fact charge for Wills. I charge for advice, counsel, guidance, and support. The Will is a by-product of all that. And to be honest, I don’t even know yet if you need a Will.
Perhaps a Will would suffice for your family, but perhaps not. And if we have a conversation about how much a Will costs and then it turns out you need more than just a Will, you’ll be focusing on price rather than how to actually accomplish your goals … and I’ll have done you a great disservice.
So I won’t answer that question right up front, because it’s the wrong question to ask right up front. My process begins with a Family Estate Planning Session. And because I want every interaction between us to be extremely valuable to you (whether I ever write a Will – or any other documents – for you or not), I’ll send you a comprehensive information packet with homework for you to complete before our Session together so you can gain the most from your time with me.
I’ll review the homework you complete before we meet so we can invest our full time together examining your specific situation and looking at what would happen to you, your children, your money, and the people you love if anything happens to you.
I guarantee you will be heard, cared about, informed, educated, and empowered to make the best decisions for the people and things that matter most in your life.
If, after we spend that time together, it turns out you do need a Will (or any other type of legal planning), it will be because we came to that conclusion together. Then talking about pricing will make sense and can be put into context.
I can tell you this now, though- most of our foundational estate plan packages range between $2,000 and $8,000. Your package will be customized to the specific needs of you and your family, and YOU will be in control the whole time.
So how do you choose a lawyer, if not based on price?
Get referrals from your friends and family. Read client reviews, if available (and if not available, ask, “why not?”). When you call any law office to inquire about their services, rather than asking what they charge, ask HOW they charge and what makes their services different than others.
See who stands out. Your lawyer will be a member of your team for the long term (or at least he or she should be). A lawyer who looks at you as just another transaction isn’t likely to provide you with the level of service you need. You deserve a lawyer who is approachable, dedicated, and looks forward to being in a long-term relationship with you and your family.
That’s why simply asking, “What do you charge for a Will?” does not get you where you need to be to make smart, loving decisions for your family. In fact, that question can send you in exactly the wrong direction.
The far more powerful (and empowering) question to begin with is “What do I need to do to make things as easy as possible for my family after I’m gone?”