I was chatting with a friend the other day about estate planning and he told me something surprising. When I asked if he had an estate plan, he responded by telling me that he doesn’t have one yet because all the attorneys he met with quoted high fees.
Here are some things to consider if you shop around based on fees alone:
1. The attorney who charges less may deliver less (less knowledge, less experience, less skill, less service)?
2. In today’s market, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, many clients get much less.
3. Low fees may be a sign that the attorney is cutting corners.
Don’t shop around based on price alone. When you hire an attorney, make sure you consider if the attorney:
- has Estate Planning knowledge, skills and experience;
- has special training in Estate Planning;
- drafts customized estate plans;
- quotes reasonable fees (not too high and not too low). Flat-rate fee are preferable because there are no surprises;
- provides regular followup so your estate plan is always up-to-date so it works during your lifetime and when your family needs it most;
- provides client-focused service;
- guarantees his/her work (Many attorneys do not do this);
- has an excellent professional reputation; and
- compatibility (how well you and your attorney “click”).
If you focus on these characteristics instead of how much the attorney’s fees will be, the benefits that you and your family will receive will far outweigh the overall cost.