How to choose an estate planning lawyer.

You want an estate planning lawyer who is more than just a glorified document creator. You want a trusted advisor who helps you make the best decisions for you, your business, and your family throughout your lifetime, and who is there at the end when your loved ones need them most.

So often, the process of finding and hiring an estate planning lawyer is difficult and confusing. Your PFL is here to change all that.


The 6 common mistakes 
to avoid when hiring a lawyer.

We’ve narrowed down the 6 most frequent mistakes we hear
or see people make when hiring a lawyer to care for their assets and the people they love. 

Going it alone with online documents or a cheap lawyer who provides a documents-only service.

Maybe it saves you a buck in the short term, but in the long run, DIY online plans or "cheap legal" ends up sticking your loved one's with the bill. What you end up saving now, your family ends up paying for long into the future.


Choosing a lawyer who will charge you hourly for your planning or lure you in with a discount offer.

Estate planning should almost never be provided on an hourly basis. Your lawyer should take you through a planning process to help you choose a flat fee that's right for your family, and will have ongoing flat fee maintenance options to ensure your plan stays up to date throughout your life.


Hiring a transactional or litigation lawyer

There are two types of traditional lawyers: "Transactional" and "Litigation" lawyers. Transactional lawyers provide you with a one-off service, and set of documents that are out of date as soon as your life, the law or your assets change. And litigation lawyers are focused on the fight. You want a relational lawyer who can help you use the process of estate planning to create family connection and generational wealth.


Not having a plan for changes in the law, your life and your assets

Your lawyer should have a process in place to ensure your plan stays up to date throughout your life, and for regular communication as your life, the law, and your assets change. Without that, your estate plan will most likely fail, just when your family needs it most. 


Focusing only on the financial

Your assets are far more than just the money you'll pass on. Inheritance includes passing on your values, insights, stories, and experience. Your legacy is created by the choices you make now, and the right lawyer guides you to wise choices about more than just your money.


Choosing a lawyer who is not an expert in the kind of service you actually need.

All lawyers went to law school, but that doesn't mean they know how to serve your family with the heart, soul and spirit you need when considering life and death. Choose a heart-centered, relational lawyer who will be there to guide your family when you can't be.


How “shopping around” for an estate plan could leave your family with an expensive, unintended mess.

Often it’s wise advice to get three estimates before
investing in a professional service, but this isn’t true
when it comes to estate planning.

The biggest mistake? Going it alone.

With tempting online DIY will and estate planning services, it’s easy to think that getting the legal advice you need is as easy as signing up for Netflix.

We get it. Set-it-and-forget-it documents prefilled by AI do seem easy. But for the majority of families and businesses, it will miss critical laws of your jurisdiction, key elements of your personal plan, and most importantly: not be the human hand you need when you need it.

The very best way to avoid all these mistakes, and receive the service, expertise, and care that you and your loved ones deserve, is by finding your own Personal Family Lawyer. PFLs are trained to treat their clients relationally, ask the right questions, and provide services that are comprehensive and life-long.

Even more importantly, you’ll have a trusted counselor that you can count on to keep your Life and Legacy Plan current and updated at regular intervals, as well as provide legal advice should you or your family need it. All PFL services are delivered through flat-fee, affordable pricing.

Frequently asked questions

  • What’s Life & Legacy Planning?

    Life and Legacy Planning is a process of looking at all of your legal and financial decisions through the lens of our heart-centered decision-making methodology that clarifies what matters most to you when it comes to love, money, life and death. It goes beyond traditional “transactional” or “one-off/documents focused” estate planning to ensure a lifetime of wise legal and financial choices, and that you’ve left your loved one’s with a legacy of guidance and support.

  • Is a Personal Family Lawyer expensive?

    You will only work with a Personal Family Lawyer if it's the most affordable and effective option for you and your family. All PFL firms begin by educating you on estate planning, and guiding you through a Life & Legacy Planning Session, so you can look at your assets and your family dynamics clearly, to see what a “do nothing” or “failed plan” would cost the people you love. You’ll only proceed with planning if working with your PFL is less expensive than going it on your own.

  • At what age should I start estate planning?

    When done right, estate planning is a rite of passage and initiation into adulthood. We recommend starting as soon as you are ready to step into your full responsibility as an adult, and leading by example for all those around you.

  • I don’t have kids, do I really need an estate plan?

    Everyone needs an estate plan of some kind. The question isn't "Do I need an estate plan?" but "What kind of estate plan do I need?" Estate planning ensures that your wishes are carried out in case of incapacity or death. That means any trip to the hospital could require an estate plan to help guide your loved ones.

  • Who needs an Estate Plan?

    Every adult over the age of 18 with capacity needs an estate plan. If you don’t intentionally create an estate plan, the state will create one for you. And, it will typically be a plan that you and your loved one’s won’t like. It can be expensive, messy, public and leave your family stuck in a court process that’s no fun no matter how short or long it takes. So, if you are reading this, YOU need an estate plan. And the next question should be “What Kind of an Estate Plan Do I Need?”

  • How do I choose legal guardians?

    Your legal guardians should be the people you would want making healthcare, educational and spiritual life decisions for your kids, if you cannot. Your legal guardians do not have to be the same people that take care of the resources you are leaving behind for your kids and the people who will care for them. Our PFLs are specially trained on taking you through a process to choose the right people to raise your kids, if you can’t, and then to ensure your kids are never taken into the care of strangers or anyone you wouldn’t want.

PFL firms in your area


Hi, I’m Pam Starsia. I became a Personal Family Lawyer because I’m passionate about educating and empowering people to create estate, life, ...

Juniper Law, PLLC

I became a Personal Family Lawyer to help people like you and families like yours plan for the future. Facing the potential for incapacity a...

Das Law, PLLC

Let’s talk about your death . . . or incapacity. If something unfortunate happens, what will happen to your assets that you’ve worked so har...

Legacy Lawyers, PLLC

Hi. I’m John W. Heck. I became a Personal Family Lawyer because I have seen the consequences of failed estate planning in my immediate famil...

Edris Law

In my practice, I focus on Family Protection, Wealth Preservation, and Value-Based Planning. I’m also experienced with wealth planning strat...

Brown Law Offices

Lisa Brown Esq. is the principal attorney for Brown Law Offices. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and ...

Millennium Attorney

Naureen Rahman has been practicing law for over twenty years in the Maryland, DC-Metropolitan area. She has practiced across numerous sector...

Reflections Life Planning, LLC

I love being able to guide my clients through a unique planning process that empowers them to live a financially fulfilling life now while e...

I am an attorney dedicated to helping families in Virginia navigate the world of estate planning. With over 22 years of legal experience, I'...


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