Everyone likes to save money. However, when it comes to estate planning, online services like LegalZoom and Nolo.com are hardly the bargain they promise to be. In fact, the legal community has not resisted the proliferation of these services primarily because they result, in many cases, in the lawyers making even higher fees. A properly prepared estate plan can avoid or at least minimize the cost of probate, a court proceeding where a judge is required to oversee the handling of a deceased person's assets. When a will, trust or other estate planning document is prepared improperly, a probate court will require multiple hearings and lengthy discovery processes to determine the true intent of the person who died and to make sure the estate is distributed fairly. Our firm typically charges between $500-$2000 to prepare an estate plan, depending on complexity. However, when a probate case has to be opened up through the courts, our fees will be a minimum of $5000 and could end up being many thousands of dollars more. A wise investment with a good estate planning attorney during your lifetime will save your heirs large sums of money and many hours of headaches after you pass away. Seeking to save a few hundred dollars now by using a do it yourself service could cost your family thousands of dollars later trying to correct the mistakes made on the generic, low quality documents often provided to the consumer.
Personal consultation with a lawyer and professional preparation of your documents is the only way to go. If you have questions about your estate plan after your documents are completed, LegalZoon and Nolo.com won't care and won't be around to assist you. We will. Quality customer service is always worth the extra price. Feel free to contact us is you need to prepare a will, set up a trust and complete a proper estate plan. Check out our client questionnaire to get started.