I was recently speaking with a Certified Financial Planner in the Nashville area who asked me over the phone “Dan, what do you charge for a Trust.” To which, I responded, “I do not charge to draft a Trust, I represent clients with sound legal advice and guidance.” This is not that out of the ordinary when I have families, financial planners, CPAs, and insurance professionals contact my office to inquire regarding legal fees.
However, as I tell every client that I have the opportunity to speak with or work with, “What you are paying me for is my legal advice and legal representation of this matter. The legal documents that we prepare are a by-product of the legal representation.”
Therefore, a warning … before you hire an attorney make sure you ask yourself this question …
Am I Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney or Am I Buying an Expensive Box of Paper?
It is simply not appropriate to charge my clients $4,000 to $5,000 and give them a uniform box of paper that says, “Living Trust” on it, and maybe it will work for them when their family needs them the most. However, every client that retains our office to work with them and their family develop a comprehensive estate and legacy plan is concerned with one thing … I want things to be easy for my family when I’m gone. For that reason, you want to make sure that the attorney that you work with will be available to speak with your family when the unthinkable occurs, will keep you updated regarding the various law changes that occur that may affect your estate plan, and will be there to ensure that the plan works, the way that it was supposed to when you hired the attorney.
When I became an estate planning attorney I did so for a very specific reason … I love what I do. I wanted to work with families through the entire process and be there to guide them during their darkest hours after the death of a loved one. Simply buying an expensive box of paper is not going to accomplish that goal for nearly every client that I work with.
Estate planning is not the creation of documents, but it is the legal guidance in the planning and during some of life’s most difficult moments.
If you are starting to research estate planning for you and your family, please Click Here and download my Legal Report on Estate Planning in Tennessee. If you think you are ready to speak with an attorney, please give us a call at (615) 472-2482 and we’d be happy to sit down with you and discuss how a comprehensive estate and legacy plan may be appropriate for you and your family.