FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is an estate? Do I have one?
An estate is a legal term that encompasses all your belongings. This includes everything from money to retirement accounts, business interests and, of course, all kinds of property. As such, your estate’s value is equal to your net worth. Therefore, anyone that passes away leaves behind an estate of varying proportions.
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is a contingency plan for what should happen to yourself and your property in the event of death or disability. In its simplest from, an estate plan will consist of three elements:
(1) Last Will & Testament
(2) Durable Power of Attorney
(3) Advance Health Directive
Together, these documents allow you to distribute your property after your death and enable someone you trust to make financial, legal, and medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.
Of course, an estate plan can be much more complicated and involve trusts, tax planning, or shielding property from creditors.
Do I need an estate plan?
You might think that only wealthy people need to worry about estate plans. However, everyone stands to benefit from a properly drafted estate plan. Your estate plan provides your loved ones with a blueprint of what should happen if you were to die or become disabled. During such difficult times, they will greatly appreciate any guidance you provide. Above all, an estate plan can avoid frequent family feuds and court fights that often ensue. As a matter of fact, without an estate plan, a court will have to step in to sort out your affairs, which can be expensive and cumbersome. On the other hand, an estate plan puts you in charge, no matter your net worth.
When is a good time to draft an estate plan?
Estate attorneys joke that a good time to begin estate planning is while you are alive. People typically don’t think about their estate until they are in poor health or had a brush with death. Although we completely understand this attitude, it is best to get started while you are in good health with a clear mind. Then you can enjoy the peace of mind of being prepared for the unexpected. Moreover, if you start early, your estate plan will likely be quite straightforward. As an added bonus, an estate plan is a great way of keeping track of your assets and retirement goals.
Why should I hire an attorney to draft an estate plan?
Naturally, you can draft your own estate plan, just like you can self-diagnose on WebMD. However, whenever you use WebMD, a headache becomes a brain tumor. The practice of law is similar. It lends itself to simple, seemingly obvious solutions that are overly general and do not address individual circumstances. Like buying a suit off the rack, automated estate planning websites provide solutions that look OK but do not fit particularly well. For about the same price, we will take all the measurements to ensure that your estate plan is as unique as you. Not to mention, only attorneys can answer any legal questions you may have.
How long does it take for an attorney to prepare an estate plan?
This depends on the complexities of your estate. A simple estate plan consisting of the three core elements (will, power of attorney, advance health directive) should be ready within 24-48 hours after you complete the intake questionnaire. Conversely, complex estate plans will take longer, usually 5-10 business days, or more, if we need to gather additional documents. Please let us know if you need your documents sooner due to an urgent situation.
How much do you charge?
We usually charge a flat fee rather than an hourly rate to avoid any surprises. Our fee schedule for simple estate plans with wills is available here. For all other matters, our hourly rate is $249 for remote work. Our in-office hourly rate in Manhattan is $450. However, most of our clients prefer virtual meetings which allow us to pass our savings on to you.
Our rates are all-inclusive. We do not charge for office supplies or copies. If you would like hard copies of your documents by FedEx, delivery fees may apply.
Why are your fees so low?
We do not maintain large, mahogany-clad representative offices in Manhattan, resulting in substantial savings that we pass on to you. We share conference rooms with other firms as needed, allowing for additional flexibility and savings. With our reduced overhead, we are able to offer highly competitive rates and a great value to you.
How should I prepare before calling?
You do not have to prepare before calling. As your attorneys, we will guide you through the estate planning process from start to finish. Simply send us an email, message, or give us a call to get started.