Over half of all Americans do not have a comprehensive estate plan despite knowing that they need one. One of the reasons people often cite for not creating an estate plan is the cost involved. Instead of thinking in terms of what the cost is to create an estate plan, think in terms of what the cost is if you fail to create an estate plan.
There is no simple answer to questions regarding the cost of an estate plan because each estate plan is as individual as the person creating the plan. For some people, a Last Will and Testament is all they really need while for others an estate plan requires numerous trusts, life insurance policies, and maybe a business succession plan. Regardless of the complexity of the estate plan you might need, it will be more cost efficient to create it than to continue putting it off.
Failing to create an estate plan can cost your estate thousands of dollars in legal fees and taxes. Assets that could go to your family and loved ones when you die could be lost to these costs. Just the basic costs involved in probating an estate can add up quickly—and could be avoided with some simple advance planning.
Mistakes in an estate plan can also be costly which is why do-it-yourself estate planning documents are not a good way to try and cut costs. An out of date document, for example, could be more trouble than not having one at all when it comes time to probate your estate.
So the next time you decide to put off creating your estate plan because you are concerned about the costs, remember that not creating a plan will cost more in the long run.