Friday, April 20, 2012

Purchasing Estate Planning Documents over the Internet Vs. Hiring an Attorney

Potential clients are being bombarded with marketing from Legal Zoom, Nolo Press, Quicken and the likes of Suzie Orman to obtain their estate planning documents from the internet or from do it yourself software as opposed to hiring a lawyer to create an estate plan.  The assumption made is that the lawyer is simply selling you forms that you can get yourself. 

So if you can cut out the lawyer you can save thousands of dollars.  Right?!?  Wrong!!!!!

The value of hiring an elder law and estate planning attorney rather than purchasing forms over the internet is that an experienced attorney does not simply sell you forms.  A good estate planning attorney will listen to your goals and desires, analyze your individual circumstances, provide you with various option to achieve your goals and incorporate them into your plan. There is absolutely no way answering questions on a website form can possibly do this. 

Unfortunately, companies that offer quick internet legal forms provide a false sense of security to those customers that use them. 

The customers believe they have dealt with their estate and long term care planning issues and that their affairs are in order. 

There is nothing further from truth!!!!!!!

Every week I consult with clients, who show me estate planning documents that do not achieve their objectives, although they certainly believed they did when they paid for them.  Trusts, powers of attorneys and advance health care directives which are not customized to a client's individual needs, almost never achieve the objectives sought.  Unfortunately, it is often times too late to redo these documents if a person no longer has the ability to handle their own affairs.   

In a nutshell the advantages of hiring an attorney over buying documents from a service or buying do it yourself estate planning software are as follows: 

1) Analyze: Attorneys analyze a client's situation and identify issues that need to be addressed in an estate and long term care plan by first listening to their client's desires and objectives;
2) Advise: Attorneys provide advice and guidance to their clients by recommending solutions and provide options to achieve the client's goals; 
3) Customize: Attorneys customize the documents for their clients to incorporate the solutions the clients have chosen to achieve their objectives;
4) Ensure: Attorneys ensure that the documents are signed in accordance with the strict formalities that are required by Law;
5) Advocate: Attorneys serve as advocates for their clients in dealing with financial institutions, governmental agencies and other business professionals; and
6) Care:  Most importantly, Attorneys care about a client and their families.

In essence there is no comparison between hiring an attorney and using a service to buy the most important and essential planning that one needs to do to protect themselves and their families.

Questions - give my office a call. Vinny Casiano, Elder Law Attorney  619-800-6820.