In this uncertain economy, it is natural to look for less expensive alternatives for many important goods and services. The Mo-Town harmony group, The Miracles, advised "You better shop around," and many people have internalized this sentiment with the market on a sharp decline. When it comes to items or services that are exactly the same, finding the lowest price makes sense. However, not all goods and services are identical.
With respect to Estate Planning, a popular phenomenon is out-of-town "trust mills," organizations of non-attorneys who sweep into town, put on seminars, sign you up for a trust at half the cost of a local attorney, and then disappear. You think you’ve done your estate planning at a bargain. However, are you getting the same quality plan and service that a local trusted adviser can provide?
When working with your Estate Planning Attorney, it is important that he or she make the effort to get to know you, your family, your financial situation, and your concerns. Once the attorney has tailored a plan that is specific to your needs, your attorney should take the responsibility to make sure that all of your current assets are titled to your Trust and that the designated beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, annuities, and retirement plans are up-to-date and coordinated with the rest of your Estate Plan. Finally, your attorney should be available to answer questions and counsel you and your family long after you’ve signed your Estate Plan.
Having a trusted adviser that your family can rely upon for a lifetime is a more important factor than cost when searching for someone to entrust with the important life decisions involved in Estate Planning.