This is the most common statement I hear in my law practice; then secondly, “what does a simple Will cost?” The reason I can never immediately “quote” a price is because of the many questions that must be answered, such as:
Can you tell me about your yourself? Current health? Family? Marriages? Children? Biological or step? Adopted? Special needs? Disabilities? Any “issues” with heirs such as gambling or drinking/drugs, bad marriages/excessive debt; or conflict in family? If married, do each need a separate attorney because of conflicts in wishes or children from previous marriages? Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement between spouses controlling estate planning? Or another form of agreement not to change estate planning and previous spouse has died before consult.
Guardian for minor children?
What are your overall wishes if you would die tomorrow? Charitable bequests? Like to control (“trust”) the bequest after your death? Any personal tangible property to go to a certain heir, if owned?
Any advancement or gifts already made to an heir?
Income? Assets? How much & how owned? Joint? Primary and contingent beneficiary designations such as TOD or POD (“Transfer or Payable” on Death) on these accounts or assets?
Any life insurance? Qualified accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401K, etc.)?
How debts are to be handled?
Veteran? Or spouse of a veteran? Receive benefits? Any service‐related disability?
Does anyone owe you money or inheritance expected?
Who do you trust to make financial or healthcare decisions if you are unable? Who do you trust to handle your estate after death? Or be your trustee if decide to set up a trust? Backup person or institution as a backup for these appointments?
If have long‐term care needs, how will you pay? Long‐term care insurance?
Organ donor or donate body to science?
Want a Living Will to state your advanced directives if have an incurable disease, illness or injury?
Have digital footprint or assets? Such as Facebook; online banking, brokerage account? Receive statements by email only? Keep updated list of accounts and passwords?
The answer to any of these questions can result in many more planning issues and questions. So, you can see how difficult it is if the proper questions are asked to quote a price for a simple Will over the phone.