The High Cost of Your Will

Each week, The Houston Chronicle runs a column entitled “State Your Case,” where local attorney Ron Lipman answers 4 or 5 questions from readers regarding various legal subjects. Recently, Lipman devoted the entire week’s column to estate planning and probate questions covering a range of concerns regarding Wills and probate questions.

In one of those questions, the reader asked Lipman, “What should I expect to pay for a simple Will…?” The reader pointed out that he just wanted a Will that passed everything to he or his wife when the first of them died, and then upon the death of the second of them, everything would be split equally between their children.

Having apparently conducted an informal survey of other attorneys in Houston, Lipman discussed that fees for a simple Will can sometimes be as high as $2,000 for a married couple. He also pointed out that a simple trust for a special needs child will generally cost anywhere from $2,000 on the low side or $4,000 on the higher end.

In my opinion, Lipman has provided useful information to answer this reader’s question, and his answer is probably fairly accurate. What surprises me, though, is the fairly high cost that some lawyers are charging for their “simple” Wills and for trusts for special needs children.

Ford & Mathiason has always advocated that each person in Texas should have a Will and that there is no substitute for the competent, experienced advice of attorneys who routinely advise clients in estate planning. However, Ford and Mathiason has historically charged much lower rates for these services and has always been very upfront and honest about the manner in which we charge for our estate planning services. In the Rates and Fees section of our website, you can find detailed information on the methods that we use for charging for our services, which we provide so that potential clients can fully understand the financial commitment that they are making when hiring an attorney.

As you embark on new decisions in 2010, consider carefully whether you need to make changes to your existing Will or if you need to create a Will for the first time. At the same time, do not let articles like Lipman’s scare you into thinking that these services are cost prohibitive. Ford & Mathiason is happy to offer estate planning expertise at reasonable rates. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your options further.