It is difficult to know the average cost of estate planning when so many different factors vary the price from person to person. Your lawyer can discuss the average cost for estate planning and the actual costs to you before you start the process. If your lawyer charges an hourly rate, this can indicate how much it may cost to begin coming up with an estate plan for you.
Do-It-Yourself costs for estate planning can be minimal, but might result in additional costs in the long run (as cited by American Bar Association, who recommends discussing your estate planning goals and the related costs with your lawyer who can inform you of their legal fees in writing before you get started).
Start Estate Planning By Defining Your Goals and Objectives
Before you start creating an estate plan, you should have a clear idea of your goals and objectives. Every individual who creates an estate plan will have goals that are specific to their needs. Are your goals to provide for your family, to make philanthropic contributions, or to preserve family heirlooms? As you start this part of the estate planning process, consider:
- The current and future health of your spouse
- The current and future educational needs of your children
- The charitable organizations you wish to support
- Your health care and end-of-life preferences
- Ways you can minimize potential taxes
Estate planning goals can also include minimizing family tension after your demise. Your lawyer can help you clearly define your goals, organize your estate planning documents into the correct format, comply with local laws, and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
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An Estate Plan Allows You to Make Decisions for Your Future
In addition to deciding who receives what from your estate after your demise, a comprehensive estate plan lets you make important decisions for your future. With an estate plan you can:
- Appoint someone you trust to hold your durable power of attorney and make decisions on your behalf
- Appoint someone you trust to hold your health care power of attorney and make decisions about your health when you cannot do so
Deciding when to discontinue life support or when to stop resuscitative efforts on your behalf can be emotionally challenging for your family members. An estate plan can let you make these decisions for yourself while you are able and relieve family members of this weighty responsibility.
Your estate plan will also allow you to choose who serves as your representative and who serves as trustees for your heirs. These decisions are always yours to make, however, your lawyer can help you put them into the correct legal forms that comply with local laws.
Know What Will Happen if You Do Not Have an Estate Plan
The average cost for estate planning will vary according to a number of factors. The cost of dying without a properly executed plan in place can be costly in more ways than one. It can lead to avoidable and unwelcome tension amongst friends and family members. It can also mean someone else makes decisions that should be yours to make.
The Ohio State Bar Association clearly outlines what will happen to your assets if you die without a will or estate plan in place, which is called dying intestate.
- The court will decide who takes charge of distributing your assets
- The court will decide who receives specific portions of your estate
The court takes a formulaic approach to dividing your property and assets that might not be the way you would divide your assets. Dying intestate can be costly and time-consuming. It can also rob you of the opportunity to make decisions for your family or for your own future care.
An Estate Plan Lets You Make Specific Distributions
The assets you have built over the course of your life and career can include savings, investment portfolios, real estate, and business assets. If you die without a will or estate plan, the state will distribute your assets to specific family members in a predetermined order.
A complete estate plan will allow you to include friends, loved ones, charitable institutions, and other recipients that courts might not include in their distribution formula.
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Review Your Estate Planning Possibilities Today
Planning your estate is an important part of ensuring the future for yourself and for your family. Do not put off estate planning and risk having the state make decisions for yourself and your family that might not align with your preferences or with the needs of your loved ones. When you are ready to reinforce your plans for your property and assets and give your family peace of mind, contact the client intake team at Bressman Law by calling (877) 538-1116 to start building your estate plan.