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
people make when hiring a lawyer.
We’ve narrowed down the 6 most frequent mistakes we hear
or see people make when hiring a lawyer. Have you made any of
these mistakes while looking for your own lawyer?
1. Going it alone with online options or cheap lawyers who provide documents-only service.
Maybe it saves you a buck in the short term, but in the long run, neither of these options provides you with long-term legal counsel, or the means to change your estate plan as life shifts and grows the way all lives do. What you end up saving now, you end up paying for long into the future.
2. 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. Any lawyer who knows their craft is able to quote you a package fee for comprehensive service. And be especially wary of packages quotes less than a few thousand dollars, as this usually indicates corner cutting tactics.
3. Not ensuring there is a plan in place for regular communication as your life, the law, and your assets change.
With no one in place to make sure your assets are titled properly, your estate plan will most likely fail, just when your family needs it most.
4. Only addressing “obvious” assets, and not having a lawyer work with you to pass on your intangible, whole-family wealth.
The plans most lawyers create focus entirely on passing on financial wealth, when what we all know is most important is the intangible wealth - values, insights, stories, and experience.
5. Expecting poor service and receiving it.
Look for a lawyer who has a team supporting them, and a process for answering phones and returning phone calls. Beware of lawyers that charge hourly or in minute-increments. Your family deserves better, and so does your legacy.
6. Choosing a lawyer who is not an expert in the kind of service you actually need.
While most lawyers ARE experts on the law, that doesn’t mean that every lawyer has the specializations, training, or certifications that you’re looking for. Be careful to select a lawyer whose specialty lines up with the services you’re seeking.
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 doing so is less expensive than the cost to your family of doing nothing or the cost of failed planning. This is why all planning with a PFL begins with a Family Wealth Planning Session, so you and your PFL can together see your assets, your values and your family dynamics clearly, and what a “do nothing” or “failed plan” would cost the people you love. Then, your PFL will guide you through a variety of planning options based on your budget and your desired outcomes for yourself and the people you love. You’ll only proceed if working with your PFL is less expensive than the alternative!
This is the essential question of estate planning! And it’s not just for the wealthy. It’s for everyone. Your PFL will educate you on your needs and options so you know what's best for 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
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