For services that are frequently performed, such as drafting basic estate planning documents, many lawyers may charge you a flat fee that can be easily quoted to you. Interestingly, our study showed some regional differences in lawyers' policies on free consultations. While more than two-thirds of estate planning lawyers in California and New York offered free consultations, comparable numbers in Georgia and Washington State were only 50% and 39%, respectively. Most estate planning lawyers do not charge fees for the initial meeting, but this is by no means a universal rule.
Don't be surprised if the lawyer charges a small fee for sitting with you for the first time. I was referred to her because I needed an attorney who knew how to establish special needs trusts. Lawyers usually charge much more for a living trust than for a will, even though a simple living trust is a fairly standard document, such as a will. Trust Amendment: The price of the fixed fee will be determined upon agreement with the client based on the complexity of the changes to the settlement Murphy is an attorney with more than 20 years of experience in estate and trust administration and preparing inheritance and gift tax returns.
But after a living trust is drawn up and signed, you must change title to the assets you want to leave through the trust. All those hours may seem like a lot to you, but the lawyer should have a pretty good idea of how long it will take to meet with you, answer your questions, design and write your estate plan, review your plan with you, help you sign your plan, and then help you fund your trust if you have chosen to include one. The trustee may hire an attorney to answer only specific legal questions or to deal with defined legal tasks (limited representation), or to represent the trustee to provide all legal advice and services required in the administration of the trust (general representation). Occasionally, lawyers may request an advance deposit of fees (often called an “advance”) to handle ongoing estate management work, such as managing trust assets for a child with special needs.
You may be able to convince a lawyer to give you some kind of discount if, for example, your lawyer is a friend of the family.