Ask Terry Questions Estate Plan

Estate Plan

By Terry Savage on April 20, 2015 | Financial Planning / Retirement

I am over 65 years old and have still not written a will or made an estate plan.
How do I find a competent estate planner to help with estate planning? I want to find someone that charges on the basis of their expertise and their time in completing a plan, not on a percentage of the estate. What resources or individuals to you suggest?
I also prefer someone who can combine this with a will.
What qualifications should I look for?
I already have a CFP for investments and retirement accounts.

Terry Says:  First, no attorney I know charges based on the size of the estate!  In most parts of the country a revocable living trust, pour-over will, healthcare power of attorney, living will and related documents shouldn’t cost more than $1500 — or maybe twice that amount in a large city.  If your estate is more complex, setting up spousal trust, insurance trusts, etc., that would add to the cost.

You should search for an attorney at — the website of the estate planning bar.  Or ask your local bank trust department for a referral to a competent attorney.  I’m happy to give you some names if you live in Illinois or Florida.  Just sent me an email (, or post again.

You’re not alone in procrastinating.  But I’m superstitious:  I believe that if you procrastinate you’re tempting fate!  AND, you will certainly cost your heirs some money.  If you die without a will, your property will go through the time consuming and expensive process called probate — with a bunch of attorneys charging unnecessary fees — and, if you want to leave money for younger children, they will be in control.  Setting up an “estate plan” is merely your way of demonstrating your love for those who will receive your assets.

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