Paying for Estate Planning The Smart Way

Need for counsel is evident, but smart talent and value are often in short supply. 

47917 Goldberg SimpsonKelli Brown, attyMost people think that attorney fees are only billed by the minute, like getting into a cab or an Uber. For many this means that they believe that any lawyer-related service is not obtainable.

For estate planning matters, experience and talent of the lawyer is more important than ever. After all, the final disposition of assets represents a person’s last wishes including who gets what, when and who is in charge. Yet, estate planning law is a practice area with one of the highest claims of legal malpractice in Kentucky. The problem is many-fold and often begins with a person searching for a cheap alternative by and through a person with limited working knowledge of the field. This result can be creation of poor documents.

In many ways, it’s the perfect scam. For example, Dad hires an attorney who specializes in criminal law for a Will thinking any attorney can do the job. Dad (not a lawyer) does not know that his cheap Will does not achieve his wishes with regard to his assets and even worse does not provide that his executor can sell real estate. Years later, Dad dies leaving the kids to ponder why in the world he would do x, y, and z and also why they have to pay a probate attorney to go to court and file a motion for the sale of real estate when one sentence in a Will would have taken care of it. Of course, the criminal lawyer who prepared the document “on the cheap” has no recollection or notes with regard to Dad’s wishes for his Will but assures the kids that the Will was what Dad wanted. All information dies with Dad and Dad’s assets pay for a lot of lawyering that would not have been necessary had the Will been prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney. The end result was that Dad thought he had a deal but in reality, more went to lawyers than should have.

Clients such as Dad, could have hired an experienced estate planning lawyer who charged a flat fee for estate planning. This means that a client would know upfront what the total cost for estate planning will be eliminating the worry of minute billing.

As a long-trusted firm in the practice of trusts and estates, Goldberg offers flat fee estate planning for most estate plans. Often it works like this, a client comes in for a consultation. After the meeting, the attorney puts in writing a summary of the meeting along with a flat fee for estate planning. Fees are clearly communicated at the beginning of the process.

Our firm offers highly-experienced attorneys who bring exceptional estate planning experience with the ability to know the fee upfront. Taking this approach typically offers clients the chance to enjoy better, more strategic expertise without having to worry about the billing clock ticking.

The end result is satisfied clients who enjoy greater individualized planning and more dollars on to the next generation. Each situation is different: from parents who must protect children with special needs, to complex business succession, elder care, tax strategy, and beyond – clients deserve great advice with qualified attorneys at a fair price.

Kelli Brown is a Partner at Goldberg Simpson, and represents clients in all aspects of estate planning, estate administration, probate, estate litigation, and prenuptial agreements. She is a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and a frequent presenter across the Commonwealth of Kentucky on all areas of trusts and estates. If your civic group, social or professional club is interested in hosting Kelli for a free informative talk, please email kbrown@nullgoldbergsimpson.com.

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