Everybody loves a good bargain. However, it is important to remember the old adage “you get what you pay for.” I would suspect most people would agree that there are just some things you don’t want to buy at a bargain rate. Things that come to mind are brain surgery, brake repair, and parachute folding. Okay, those are the obvious ones, but what about others like risking everything you own and love. Consider these additional services that may be missing to determine if it is the right bargain for you.
As an attorney, I would agree that bargains should not be sought with legal services. As numerous Do-It-Yourself wills and trusts can be found online, one should be cautious. Whereas we all may be capable of using the self-checkout counter at the store, drafting wills and advising takes special knowledge and experience. You may find yourself subject to another adage “you don’t know what you don’t know.” If it was as simple as having a computer ask the same questions to every client, then why would anyone become an attorney and “counselor” at law? Counseling a client and developing a tailored estate plan requires more than general questions; it requires conversation.
In my practice, I make house calls to clients. I find that those who want a will are either working and cannot take time away from work to spend a couple of hours with an attorney or make a couple of visits to an attorney’s office. There is the other category of clients who are too ill or injured to travel. They may be on oxygen or not feeling well due to chemotherapy treatment. I find it rewarding to be able to provide services to those people who may not otherwise be able to obtain the services they need. When using a do-it-yourself will kit there is likely no attorney to answer questions or explain provisions during the drafting phase or after the will is executed. These are the personal services each client deserves.
The clients may look to do-it-yourself will kits for estate planning when they believe it is only option available due to travel restrictions or it could be the bargain price that attracts them. If a person is not careful, they may create a situation in which the will is not drafted to protect their assets as they believed. They also risk not executing the will properly because there is no attorney present or available to walk them through the steps. There is likely no attorney to review the will after it is signed to confirm it is correct.
Some clients are more likely to have their will challenged and should consult an attorney. If the person has had several marriages or has children from a previous relationship or has a “dysfunctional” family, then someone may challenge the will. These scenarios should be discussed with an attorney to ensure the will is drafted to provide the best defense to any challenge. Clients should not be embarrassed about discussing their circumstances with an attorney. An attorney who has been practicing for any amount of time has likely dealt with clients in worse situations than yours. Remember, the attorney is there to protect you.
If you need advice with your estate planning, please give me a call. I offer free consultation and free house calls to those who live within 50 miles of San Antonio. My fees are listed on my website. You can reach me through the contact form on my website www.TexasWillsLawyer.com or email me at hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com or call me at 210-874-5700.