By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC

If you are like me, you are receiving mail and seeing signs advertising revocable living trusts at steep discounts. Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware!

We see these plans in our office. Clients sometimes come in with worries that what was done isn’t quite what they requested. Most often, they are right. Once we review the plan, it isn’t what they want to have happen with their estate. In one particularly egregious case, there were no beneficiaries listed.

Often, the purpose of this low-ball offer isn’t to give you a good estate plan, but to sell you an annuity or other investment. A friend of mine passed along a story about someone she knew who felt held hostage in the room with the salesperson who was bound and determined she was going to invest in an annuity. Make no mistake about it– most often you are meeting with a salesperson for a financial product, and not with an attorney. They are more interested in your money and you investing with them than they are in assuring you have a proper plan that serves you and your family well.

As estate planning attorneys, we are most interested in making sure that you have an estate plan to protect you if you are incapacitated and to make your estate as easy as possible to administer on your passing (and without court proceedings).
There is a reason that attorneys are referred to as “attorney and counselor at law.” While an experienced estate planning attorney like me has the technical expertise to draft documents correctly and that is important, it is equally important that we get to know your situation. An experienced estate attorney can guide you with delicate decisions, including how to provide for a child or elderly parent who has special needs without interrupting valuable government benefits; how to provide for your children fairly (which may not be equally); who should be the guardian of your minor children; and how you can protect your children’s or grandchildren’s inheritance from creditors and irresponsible spending. That discount plan, thrown together without more discussion, won’t do the same job.

Most people think their estate planning will be simple. But the reality is that our estates are personal, and most people do need some personalized planning…and you may not know just what you need without the guidance of an experienced attorney. It is far better to spend a little more now and make sure your plan is created correctly than to try to save a few dollars and have things turn out badly and cost your family thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees later. You won’t be around to straighten things out or keep the peace then. Don’t you think you owe it to those you love to do a proper estate plan?

To schedule a no charge consultation or review with one of our attorneys, please call us at 602-375-6752.