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Fees for Legal Services

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little.  When you pay too much, you lose a little money, and that is all.   When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because whatever you bought may be incapable of doing what you needed it to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done.  If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run.  And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."


If you are shopping for estate planning services solely based on price, then I am not the estate planning attorney for you.  My legal fees are higher than many attorneys, and lower than many attorneys,  but they represent exceptional value.  All of the estate plans that I draft are customized for the particular clients' needs.  Several hours are personally spent by me meeting with my clients and creating their estate plans.


PLEASE NOTE THAT MY FIXED FEES FOR LEGAL SERVICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.  

Quick links:  Foundational Estate Planning   Advanced Estate Planning

FOUNDATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING:

For individuals, my fixed planning fee for a Living Trust Plan  is a range from $4,000.00 up to $6,500.00. The actual fixed fee will be quoted at the end of a initial consultation, and is determined by:

  • The wishes and desires of the individual
  • The planning objectives the individual has for his or her property and family, including any desire for asset protection planning for the inheritance that is being passed on to children or other heirs
  • Building flexibility into the living trust to handle specific income tax, gift tax, generation skipping transfer tax, estate tax and/or real property tax planning objectives
  • The size of the estate, which may impact the estate planning objectives and the tax planning objectives, leading to a higher fee quote
  • If the individual has minor children, any special planning that is desired for the minor children (Children's Legacy Plan)
For married couples, my fixed planning fee for a Living Trust Plan is a range from $5,000.00 up to $7,500.00.  The actual fixed fee will be quoted at the end of a initial consultation, and is determined by:
  • The wishes and desires of the couple
  • The planning objectives the couple has for their property and family, including any desire for asset protection planning for the inheritance that is being passed on to a surviving spouse, children or other heirs
  • Building flexibility into the living trust to handle specific income tax, gift tax, generation skipping transfer tax, estate tax and/or real property tax planning objectives
  • The size of the estate, which may impact the estate planning objectives and the tax planning objectives, leading to a higher fee quote
  • If the couple has minor children, any special planning that is desired for the minor children (Children's Legacy Plan)
For unmarried couples and registered domestic partners, my planning fee for a Living Trust Plan is a range from $6,000.00 up to $8,500.00, as two separate plans will need to be created. If only one partner wishes to do planning, then the rates for individuals noted above will apply. The actual fixed fee will be quoted at the end of a initial consultation, and is determined by:
  • The wishes and desires of the unmarried couple
  • The planning objectives each partner has for his or her property and family, including any desire for asset protection planning for the inheritance that is being passed on to  the other partner, children or other heirs
  • Building flexibility into the living trust to handle specific income tax, gift tax, generation skipping transfer tax, estate tax and/or real property tax planning objectives
  • The size of the estate, which may impact the estate planning objectives and the tax planning objectives, leading to a higher fee quote
  • If either or both partners have minor children, any special planning that is desired for the minor children (Children's Legacy Plan)

ADVANCED ESTATE PLANNING
Advanced estate planning options also exist, such as the Wealth Preservation Trust (irrevocable life insurance trust or ILIT), the Supplemental Needs Trust for special needs and disabled persons (SNT), and the Retirement Plan Trust for retirement plan assets.

For the Wealth Preservation Trust  (ILIT), my fixed planning fee is currently $4,000, and $3,000 for each additional ILIT prepared at the same time.

For the  Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT), my fixed planning fee is currently $4,000, and $3,000 for each additional SNT prepared at the same time.

For the Retirement Plan Trust, my fixed planning fee is $4,000 for individuals (including each partner in a registered domestic partners, or gay/lesbian married couples), and $5,000 for a married couple (separate Retirement Plan Trusts are drafted for each spouse).  

Those who attend my living trust seminars may qualify for a discount on the above fees.   You can read about what is contained in each of the estate planning options that I offer on other sections of this website.


Attorney Robert P. Bergman, Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, assists families in the San Francisco Bay Area with Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning for children and adults, special planning for retirement plan assets, and trust administration.

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