November 2, 2020
The advice of hunting for the best deal still holds true when it comes to many things- a new car, a good haircut, concert tickets. Trust me- I love a good deal, and if you know me you'll know I'm obsessed with finding the cheapest flights and biggest sales.
But when it comes to professional services, especially legal services, the cheapest option in town should come with a blaring warning sign to RUN.
Whether you're thinking of using Legalzoom or the attorney who's making wills for $500 apiece, the problem with these options is that an estate plan MUST be comprehensive to work. A quick "a la carte" will or trust won't protect your family. That's because different assets are held and controlled in different ways, and you need various planning methods to bring all of your assets together in a cohesive way.
Think of your estate plan like a jigsaw puzzle where your will is only one piece of the puzzle.
A puzzle needs many pieces to complete the picture. Your estate plan is the same. You need a series of tools and documents that work together to form a complete picture of your estate. For example, the method for passing on your life insurance is different than the method for passing on your bank account. Some assets aren't passed on using a will at all. These methods need to be coordinated to make sure all of your assets go to your loved ones in the way you want.
Plus, if your estate plan isn't coordinated to take into account all your assets and all of your beneficiaries, money gets lost. There is nearly $500 million dollars right now in the Wisconsin Department of Unclaimed Property. That money got there because assets were unaccounted for or estate plans failed.
For example, let's say you create a will that leaves all of your money to your brother. But what happens to that money if your brother passes away before you? If you didn't make a plan for this in your will, that money could end up in the hands of the State.
A cheap estate plan usually creates more problems than solutions. Aside from assets being missed entirely, an inexpensive plan will likely land your family in court, either by the design of the plan or on accident. Inexpensive plans also lack the complexity necessary to protect your wealth from creditors, divorce, or medical expenses.
A thorough estate planning attorney will also make sure your plan includes the necessary tools to keep you protected during your life so you never lose control of your finances or healthcare decisions.
Any attorney offering to create a one or two document plan has one thing in mind - a fast turn around. This type of business practice is focused on getting clients in the door, getting paid, and sending them on their way. If your lawyer isn't taking the time to truly get to know your situation, it is impossible for them to create a plan that will work when your family needs it.
The information on this page is for educational and informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This information should not be construed to be legal advice.
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