The conventional, ‘offline’ estate planning industry has long struggled with an affordability crisis. Attorney-prepared basic wills can cost between $500-1500+. Considering the median American bank account balance is a little over $5,000, it’s no wonder why more than 60% of American adults don’t have an estate plan.
Despite the prevalence of affordable online options otherwise capable of meeting their needs, some individuals prefer creating their plan in tandem with an attorney or law student as a perceived extra measure of comfort. The more budget conscious among this group might consider looking into a few different options that won’t break the bank.
Lawyers in Libraries
Many community libraries host special “lawyers in libraries” events in which lawyers or law students offer a limited range of free legal services to community members.
Check your local library’s website for details on whether such a program exists in your community and how you can take advantage of this service. Registration is often limited and fills up quickly, so be sure to plan ahead.
Ask Your Local Lawyer About Pro Bono Services
The American Bar Association’s “Model Rules of Professional Conduct” recommends that lawyers aspire to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono (i.e., free) legal services per year, focusing on providing those services to people of limited means or charitable, religious, educational, and other civic organizations.
This 50 hour service is more of a recommendation than a hard and fast rule, and no single standard exists for how lawyers offer or publicize their pro bono services. Nonetheless, you can always ask your local estate planning attorney if he or she will work with you on a pro bono basis given your limited financial means. Even if the attorney is unable to serve you, he or she may be able to refer you to another attorney or local organization that can.
Local religious communities and charitable organizations
If you are a member of a local religious community or affiliated with a charitable organization, ask your religious leaders or community director for recommendations on attorneys who can help you create an estate plan.
Many attorneys want to provide more pro bono services. However, finding and vetting good pro bono clients can be incredibly time consuming, exhausting much of their allocable hours without actually serving anyone. To improve their search efficiency, some attorneys partner directly with their local religious or charitable communities to effectively outsource pro bono client prospecting to these groups.
Do you need an attorney to create an estate plan?
Estate planning is not something most people think or try to learn about every day, or even once in a blue moon. For the unacquainted, the prospect of creating a plan without an attorney can seem intimidating.
However, the vast majority of Americans have estate planning needs that can be met without the 1:1 supervision of an attorney.
With Just In Case Estates, creating an estate plan is affordable and easy to do, and you’ll have access to a live support team available via chat, phone, text, and email to help you along the way. You can create your plan from the comfort of your own home, and updating your documents as your life and desires change is quick and easy. Start building your perfect plan today.