#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 016: Estate Planning Prices

#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 016: Estate Planning Prices

Today’s show covers something that everyone wants to know: how much do estate planning services actually cost?

That’s a very fair question, and I have a very fair answer, though it may not be exactly what you are looking for.

What I can tell you about estate planning prices, at least for our firm, is that we try to be as fair as value.

I understand that not everyone has enough money to pay for a top of the line legal service – instead they want to create a plan that is good enough to accomplish their biggest goals, though it may not to exactly everything they want right now.

If you want to know how we determine our estate planning prices, listen to the podcast.


Christopher Small

P.S. Do you have kids? Have you completed guardianship paperwork? Have you done it correctly? Click here to find out what happens if you don’t do anything: Are you okay with a judge choosing the guardians of your children?

P.P.S. Do you own a business? Do you have a plan so the business, and your family, can survive if something happens to you? If not, click here to learn how simple it is to protect your business and your family from tragedy: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Catastrophic Failure.

P.P.P.S. Do you have no kids and think you don’t need an estate plan? Single and think a will is only for married couples. You couldn’t be more wrong. Click here to learn more: 5 reasons estate planning is a must have even if you don’t have kids.

Christopher Small is a Seattle estate planning attorney who helps people get rich and live forever. He is also the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC.

Estate Planning Prices Transcript

Hey everybody this is Christopher Small. This is episode sixteen of the Rich Life Lawyer Podcast. I am super excited to be here with you today. And I hope that your day is going great. Today, we’re going to talk about something I’m sure you’re interested in and that most people are out there looking for estate planning services or any kind of services are interested in, and that’s price and what I’m not going to do, spoiler alert is tell you what our prices are. And there’s a reason for that. They, you know, over time are probably going to go up. And by the time we get to the end of this, you’ll know why that is. You know, why they’re changing. But, let’s talk about price. First of all, when you think about price when it comes to estate planning or plumbing or a cup of coffee. You know there is, there are several kind of components that go into from my point of view. And this is the way that I think about things when I purchase a service.

And that is sort of, you know, there are a couple things that come into play and we tend to think about them and give them different weights kind of depending on who we are and where we come from. There is the literal cost of providing the service. So how much does the electricity cost, the computer cost. How much does the phones cost. How much the internet cost, right. How much does the paper cost, you know, and you’ve got a price on that. Then there’s also another school of thinking is the time. How long does it take to put it together. You know. How long does it take to get the data out of the car. How does it take to change the oil. How does it take to draft a will. And there’s a monetary amount that you can put on that. I don’t really look to either of those two components. When I’m talking about the prices for my service because there’s a third component I think that is more representative of the price and allows everyone to walk away at the end of the deal feeling good about themselves.

And the third way to look at it is value, right. So what value are you getting from the transaction? And the value should be more than what you’re what you’re paying. Right. So you should be getting more value than you’re actually paying. So when it comes to estate planning. You know, people talk about timing a lot. Attorney wanna bill on time. All billing time. We bill only flat fee other than very very rare exceptions. We do flat fee billing. And the reason for that is because I feel like it’s possible to determine the value of the service provider at the beginning. And make the fee based on the value provided. So think about it this way. When you are creating even a simple will, we have include medical power of attorney, power of attorney, health care directive, guardianship nomination. If I asked you what you would pay to be able to name a person that would watch your kids. If something happened to you. And if you didn’t, and if that didn’t happen then somebody random would be making that decision. Think about what you be going to pay for that. For me that would be pretty high price.

Are you willing to pay a lot for that. Because it’s very important. It’s very valuable to me. To know that I was doing that the right way. That I consider all the factors. As another element of value. To then make sure that they’re going to be taken care of financially adds another layer of value. To know that my own personal finances are going to be taken care of if something happens to me, another layer of value. And you can see how the price for those services can be really a bargain when you consider what the prices for that kind of a service. That makes sense. Took me a while to really understand what is really critically important for me when thinking about what the prices for what we do. To think about the value the client is getting. Think about this, or let’s say you are paying a twenty percent tax on everything over two million dollars in your estate and you have a three million dollars estate. By doing the things that I suggest and putting together the correct plan, you can if you’re married, for sure, eliminate that tax. So on a million bucks, you would be to paying a tax of two hundred thousand dollars. So for me to charge, you know, ten thousand dollars would that be fair? To save you two hundred? Maybe you would, right?

Maybe the value is there. So when you think of price when it comes to legal services or anything else. Don’t just think about time. It’s not that, there’s and I tell the story to who I’m talking about price often is often business situations but there’s an analogy there a story or a tale that’s told that put this in perspective perfectly. There was a cruise ship, right. And the crew ship had broken down. The engine had failed and the mechanics on the cruise ship could not figure out what the problem was. They had tried everything they could think of and nothing worked. So they called in an expert. To come out and take a look and see if he could fix it. The person comes in, the engineer or whatever. He takes a look at the engine. Pedals around a little bit. You know, put his ear up to the thing or whatever and then he looked at the captain of the ship and he says, I can fix this problem for you. It’s going to cost you ten thousand dollars. And the captain looked at him and says no problem. That’s fine.
Get the ship running. We have a ship full of guests. They want to go to their destination. Right now, everyone is, you know, restless and uneasy. Let’s do this.
The value was there for the captain. So the guy said, the Engineer says okay. He got the hammer. He looks around. Feels around in for a little bit. Kind of looks at a spot, grabs the hammer. Pounds the engine on the spot and well you know, it starts up running. And he looks at the captain of the ship and he says, okay, that will be ten thousand dollars.

And the captains says well, you know, really? I have to pay ten thousand dollars for that? It took you three minutes worth of work. And he said, this is what the engineer said to the captain. He said, captain, hitting the engine only cost you five dollars. Knowing where to hit the engine cost you nine thousand nine hundred and ninety five dollars. That is value, right. And that’s what you’re paying for when it comes to our services. You’re not paying for the time that it takes for us to create the documents. You’re paying for the conversations that we have to make sure that you are doing exactly what you want. That you’ve considered any unintended consequences and making a knowledgeable decision. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we price our services that way and that’s why we’re the best. So, hopefully you look at pricing in a different way moving forward. And hopefully you think about us when you have a estate planning needs. Alright that’s it. This is Christopher Small, CMS Law Firm, hope you enjoyed this episode. I know I did. If you have questions let me know I will answer them here. I would love to answer them here. you can email me at chris@cmslawfirm.com. That’s it for today. Bye bye.