The majority of Americans don’t have a plan in place but estate planning is not only for wealthy individuals and business owners. A basic plan can include a power of attorney, a living will, and a will.
Fewer than one third of people living in the United States today have even one or more of these documents, according to a 2020 research survey by Caring.com. The perception of cost is one of the biggest hinderances to people scheduling a consultation with an estate planning lawyer, but in some cases, the perceived cost is much higher than the real cost.
Getting an estate plan in place requires you to do some work in advance to decide what you want to accomplish with your estate plan and to look for an attorney who offers the ability to complete all of those documents or strategies together. A standard will meets the basic needs of most people and often doesn’t cost as much as you think but this is a critical document because you will appoint who will oversee the distribution of assets and manage creditors, and you’ll name a guardian if you have minor children.
Wills can become complicated if you have advanced family dynamics, such as if you or your spouse have been married before or have a mixed family. But you’ll want to have the ability to discuss your options with an estate planning lawyer particularly if you want your loved ones to be able to avoid probate. Ask around and get recommendations for estate planning lawyer so that you have a broad reach in terms of the approach they take to your planning as well as the overall cost.