Shopping for an estate plan based on getting the lowest cost plan possible is often the fastest path to leaving your family with an empty set of documents (maybe in a beautiful binder, but not worth the paper they are written on) that wonâ€™t work for your family when they need it.
Unfortunately, we see the negative effects of cheap estate planning when grieving family members come to us with that fancy binder that sat on the shelf for years, full of out-of-date estate planning documents, and are shocked to find themselves stuck in what could have been an avoidable court process or even conflict when thatâ€™s exactly what their loved one thought they had paid someone to handle for them.
01 | The least expensive plan isnâ€™t worth the paper itâ€™s written on once youâ€™ve left the attorneyâ€™s officeâ€”your life changes, the law changes, and your assets change over time; your plan needs to keep up with those changes.
And the truth is, a lawyer canâ€™t afford to provide anything more than documents that wonâ€™t get updated when you only pay a few hundred dollars for a plan. The business model doesnâ€™t work for the lawyer and wonâ€™t work for you.
An attorney who has built a practice specifically to serve your family in their best interests would not sell $399 (or even $1,500 or $2,000) Wills, Trusts, or estate plans. A lawyer selling you a cheap plan would only provide documentsâ€”not the long-term relationship, updates, and ensuring that assets are properly titled in a Trust. Buyer beware!
02 | Forms and documents wonâ€™t be there for your family when you canâ€™t beâ€”you want to leave your loved one a relationship with a trusted advisor with whom you have built a relationship during your lifetime and who has met them and they already trust.
Working with a lawyer who focuses on â€śthe best documentsâ€ť at the â€ślowest priceâ€ť or doesnâ€™t charge enough for their services cannot provide more than form documents. These days, especially with the rise of AI, template form documents are free for anyone to use, which makes it difficult to know how those documents are handled when it comes to protecting the people you love.
Shopping around for the least expensive plan may get you the cheapest documents, but those documents wonâ€™t be there to guide the people you love when they need someone to turn to in a crisis or grief.
03 | You get what you pay for, but itâ€™s your family that will pay the price.
Traditional law firms usually use generic forms and documents. These firms are called â€śTrust millsâ€ť and are a firm that drafts plans but donâ€™t ensure assets are owned correctly or stay up-to-date over time. You might think thatâ€™s malpractice, but itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s common practice, leaving your family at risk if and when something happens to you!
04 | An estate plan isnâ€™t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing; it needs to stay updated with changes in your life, the law, and your assets.
Thereâ€™s currently more than $50 billion in unclaimed property held in departments of unclaimed property across the United States. Yep, that is billion with a B. Assets often land there when someone dies or becomes incapacitated, and their family loses track of it because it wasnâ€™t tracked well during life. And thatâ€™s just one way your family loses out if youâ€™ve shopped around for the cheapest estate plan rather than having a plan that works for the people you love.
Sometimes, having something in place is better than nothing, but this is not one of those cases. In this case, having a â€śsomethingâ€ť plan leaves your family holding the expensive, or even empty bag, when itâ€™s too late for them to do anything about it. Itâ€™s risky business to leave your loved ones with a set of documents you arenâ€™t sure are going to work, and our guess is that you love your people too much for that.
Bottom line: donâ€™t waste your time shopping around town for the cheapest plan possible. You donâ€™t want the cheap plan; you want the plan that will work for the people you love when they need it.
If you already have an estate plan in place that you may have bought based on price, and are concerned you may have gotten a set of documents that wonâ€™t serve your family when they need it most, call us and ask about our 50-point assessment. We can help you save some money by giving it to you to do yourself, or you can pay us for a plan review to make sure your loved ones wonâ€™t get stuck with an expensive and painful and unnecessary court process or loss of assets.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We begin our planning process with a Family Wealth Planning Sessionâ„˘, during which youâ€™ll not only become more financially organized than ever before, youâ€™ll finally be able to make informed, educated choices about the right plan for your family based on your unique family dynamics and your assets, instead of just shopping around for an estate plan based on price.
This article is a service of Ganvir Law, Personal Family LawyerÂ®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Sessionâ„˘, during which you will get more financially organized than youâ€™ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article.
The content is sourced from Personal Family LawyerÂ® for use by Personal Family Lawyer firmsÂ®, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.