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Grant Park Legal Advisors, LLC Blog

Monday, December 10, 2018

What Is An Estate Plan?

Most people know they need an estate plan. But few people know what that actually means. This has become quite clear to us, as over the years people have come into our office expecting to spend thousands of dollars to make a simple will. 

Good estate plans consist of more than just a will, and most do not cost nearly as much as people fear. This post will discuss the basic components of an estate plan, and our firm’s estate planning pricing structure. 

More Than a Will

A well-conceived estate plan starts with the following essential estate planning documents:

Last Will and Testament — A will is a legal document that tells the world who is to manage a deceased person’s estate. It empowers the designated person, known as the executor, to make decisions, and may provide some specific instructions. Creating a will is also the only way to name a preferred guardian for minor children. A will is the foundation of most estate plans, but even the most basic estate plans contain other pieces. Failing to create a will means trusting the court to choose who will administer your estate and get custody of your children. 
Power of Attorney — This document allows you to name a trusted person to handle your personal and financial affairs should you suffer a serious illness or injury and not be able to speak for yourself. Your designee can do things like pay bills, open bank accounts, and manage investments and properties on your behalf. 
Advance Medical Directive  — Also referred to as a healthcare proxy, this document authorizes the person you name as your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make such decisions for yourself. 

Some people also incorporate trusts into their estate plan. A trust is a useful tool for those who are concerned they may owe estate taxes and those who must make plans to care for a loved one with special needs. 

How Much Does All This Cost?

Because estate planning is a service, not a product, it is somewhat difficult to say they always cost X dollars. Each plan is different, and different plans cost different amounts, depending on how much work it takes to craft and implement them. To help take some of the guesswork out of the pricing process, our firm offers two tiers of service. 

For clients who want things done as simply and cost-effectively as possible, Grant Park Legal Advisors offers unbundled services through our Virtual Estate Planning System (VEPS). This cloud-based system allows busy and budget-conscious clients to put a plan in place at their own pace. 

The process involves accessing our online portal, completing a straightforward questionnaire, and choosing documents you wish to include in your plan as well as your preferred level of financial commitment. VEPS is offered on a fixed-price per document basis that includes limited attorney review time for each document you select. Our legal team will help you navigate the process and also advise you if we see any red flags which we believe warrant further attention. 

Clients who want more comprehensive, hands-on guidance from our team can choose our concierge level estate planning service. At the concierge level, we work with clients who have more complex estate planning needs to craft a custom-fit plan. This program is designed for individuals, couples and families who have accumulated significant assets, are focused on wealth preservation and asset protection, or are faced with a pressing concern, such as a high net-worth divorce or establishing a guardianship for a disabled loved one.

No matter which path they choose, our clients often remark that the estate planning process was less stressful and less expensive than they had anticipated. 




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332 S. Michigan Avenue, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604
| Phone: 312-392-0310

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