IMPORTANT NOTE: The fee estimates listed below assume that your family circumstances and wishes are very typical and straightforward. Unusual, detailed, or complex requests may increase the cost of your plan. The following estimates are subject to revision on a monthly basis.
Wills for married couple (nuclear family), no tax planning -- $1,000 to $1,400 (total cost for both spouses)
Every family needs a will. You should appoint guardians for your children, and may want to create a simple trust to hold your estate's assets until your children are old enough to handle money on their own. Along with the wills, I'll provide powers of attorney and related documents to ensure that your assets and health can be taken care of if you become incapacitated.
Will for single person, no tax planning -- $800 to $1,200
If you have kids, a will is essential. But even if you have no children, you may need a will to name the beneficiaries of your property. Furthermore, having a properly-drafted will can greatly simplify the administration of your estate.
Wills with bypass trust provisions -- $2,000 (total cost for both spouses)
Once your estate grows large enough, you may want to create a "bypass trust" to minimize the estate taxes due when you and your spouse die. I'll take the time to explain how this plan works, and help you decide if it's right for you.
Living trust with pourover wills, no tax planning -- $2,000 + additional fees per asset
Living trust with bypass trust provisions and pourover wills -- $2,500 + fees per asset
Although probate is simpler and less expensive in Texas than in other states, you may still wish to minimize the trouble and cost for your family after your death. A living trust can also help protect your privacy (by avoiding a public court hearing), provide for the management of your assets if you become disabled, and reduce the likelihood that your estate plan will be challenged by potential heirs. A living trust may be particularly important if you have property in another state. (Please note that the cost of creating a living trust can vary greatly depending on the number and type of assets that must be transferred to the trust.)
Life insurance trust -- $3,000
Although life insurance is generally exempt from income tax, it's still subject to estate tax. A life insurance trust can avoid both taxes, generating potentially enormous savings.
Qualified Personal Residence Trust -- $3,000
Save estate taxes on what may be your largest asset: your home.
More complex plans
The list above includes only a few of the possible estate planning techniques. I would be happy to explain my fees for other plans, including family limited partnerships, charitable split-interest trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, and other arrangements. Generally, I charge an hourly rate of $350. Please send email or call 972-381-8500 if you would like more information.
Copyright 1998-2018 by Dianne Reis.