Category: Estate Planning

Hierarchy of Estate Planning

Posted on: May 14th, 2011
I have seen plenty of bad estate planning planning in my 23 years of practice.  The pitfalls are many – I will list them in my next post.  Here’s my list of the hierarchy of estate planning, from worst to best (and I have seen them all!):
1. No planning at all.
2. Handwritten wills.
3. Piecing together forms from friends or relatives.
4. Free forms from the internet.
5. Office supply store software, like Quicken Family Lawyer.
6. Internet services, such as LegalZoom.
7. Non-lawyer companies that sell living trust packages (often times door-to-door).
8. General practice lawyers.
9. "Estate Planning" lawyers with little experience or training.
10. Experienced, credentialed estate planning specialists.
Of course, the cost goes up with the quality, but it’s that true for everything in life.  Shopping estate planning  based just on cost is like trying to compare a used Ford Pinto to a brand new Lexus.  If someone calls my office to simply ask "how much do you charge for a will" I know right away they they do not understand all that goes into estate planning and probably do not see the value in the high level of service and expertise I can provide
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