The Risks of Cheap Estate Planning

The Risks of Cheap Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important process that everyone should undertake to protect their assets and ensure their wishes are fulfilled after death. However, some make the mistake of trying to save money by opting for cheap estate planning options online or through inexperienced professionals. While this may seem appealing at first glance, it often leads to disastrous consequences for one’s family and beneficiaries. In this article, we will explore the risks of cheap estate planning, the benefits of hiring an experienced estate planning attorney, and key factors to consider when choosing a professional.

Dangers of Bargain Shopping for Estate Plans

The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings especially true when it comes to estate planning. Trying to find the cheapest option may backfire and cost your family more in the long run. Here are some of the biggest risks associated with cut-rate estate planning:

  • Generic documents: cheap online services and inexperienced professionals often use boilerplate language and generic fill-in-the-blank documents. These lack the customization required for your unique assets and wishes. 
  • Errors and omissions: Non-tailored estate plans frequently contain mistakes or omit important provisions. This creates opportunities for disputes, legal challenges, and unintended outcomes. 
  • Lack of updates: cheap services often provide no support for making necessary revisions when assets or laws change. Your plan can quickly become outdated and ineffective. 
  • Conflicts of interest: Some financial providers prioritize sales over your best interests when offering bare-bones estate planning. Proper plans may decrease their commissions. 
  • Inadequate protection: Cookie-cutter estate plans fail to adequately shield your assets and wishes. This leaves your estate vulnerable to creditors, predators, taxes, litigation, and other threats. 

The consequences of having an inadequate estate plan can be financially and emotionally devastating for your loved ones. It is imperative to work with a qualified estate planning lawyer who has the expertise to safeguard your legacy.

Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Skilled estate planning attorneys provide tremendous value that more than justifies their professional fees. Here are some of the key benefits they offer:

  • Personalized solutions: They tailor plans to your unique goals, assets, and family dynamics using customized legal instruments. 
  • Peace of mind: Their expertise and diligence provide assurance that your estate will be protected and smoothly transferred. 
  • Cost savings: They help minimize taxes, administrative costs, legal fees, and other expenses. This maximizes what goes to your beneficiaries. 
  • Asset protection: They employ creative strategies to shield your wealth from lawsuits, creditors, divorce, and other risks. 
  • Business continuity: They develop plans to ensure the successful transition of family businesses, investments, and real estate holdings. 
  • Guidance: They answer questions, explain complex concepts, and provide support throughout the estate planning process. 
  • Compliance: They ensure your plan adheres to all relevant state and federal laws. This gives you confidence that it will withstand legal scrutiny. 

Partnering with an experienced estate planning lawyer is the smartest way to protect your hard-earned wealth and your family’s future. Don’t take shortcuts here.

Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney

Not all estate planning attorneys possess the same competencies and qualifications. When selecting a professional, be sure to carefully evaluate the following:

Specialization and Credentials

Look for attorneys who specialize in estate planning and hold advanced certifications like Certified Financial PlannerTM or Certified Trust & Estate Planner. Avoid dabblers. You want someone steeped in these disciplines.

Track record and reputation

Verify they have an established history of successfully developing estate plans with no ethics violations or malpractice claims. Online reviews can help assess their reputation.

Communication Skills

Ensure they listen attentively, answer questions thoroughly, and explain concepts in plain language. You want an attorney who is personable and able to put you at ease.

Customization and creativity

Ask about their process for tailoring plans and their innovative strategies for maximizing wealth protection and transfer. Avoid those who rely on templates and a one-size-fits-all approach.

Availability and responsiveness

Confirm they will be available when needed to make timely updates and respond to questions. Lack of responsiveness defeats the purpose of hiring a professional.


Understand clearly what is included in their fees and which services incur additional charges. Legitimate estate planning lawyers are transparent about costs.

Law Firm Stability

Choose a firm that has been around for decades and will still be operating in the future. Otherwise, your plan may become orphaned.

Take time to interview several qualified candidates before deciding on an attorney. The initial investment will pay invaluable dividends.

Consequences of Inadequate Estate Planning

To drive home the dangers of bargain hunting for estate planning services, let’s look at some potential consequences:

  • Probate delays: With no streamlined probate-avoidance mechanisms, your estate may get tied up for months or years. Beneficiaries suffer without access to their inheritances. 
  • Unnecessary taxes: Poorly structured plans trigger excess taxes, needlessly depriving your heirs of wealth meant for their benefit. 
  • Family disputes: Without clear instructions, heirs often end up fighting over the division of assets and the interpretation of vague wishes. 
  • Predators profiting: In the absence of trusts and planning, scammers and predators can manipulate your vulnerable heirs out of some or all of their inheritance. 
  • Loss of control: The state may decide what happens to your minor children and remaining assets if you fail to designate competent guardians and beneficiaries. 
  • Business instability: Failing to plan for succession often results in the decline or failure of family enterprises after the owner’s death. Employees and shareholders suffer. 

Spare your loved ones the trauma and expense of an improperly planned estate. Hire a meticulous estate planning attorney to safeguard your legacy.

Smart Investment in Comprehensive Planning

Some balk at the upfront cost of retaining a specialized estate planning lawyer. But an expertly crafted plan returns substantial dividends in the long run by reducing taxes, legal fees, administrative costs, and family turmoil.

Unlike cheap options, comprehensive planning with an experienced attorney includes:

  • Regular reviews and updates: laws and assets change. Plans must be revisited and revised accordingly. 
  • Meticulous customization: Every clause and provision is tailored for efficiency and precision. 
  • Sophisticated strategies: professionals employ advanced techniques like A-B trusts, QPRTs, IDGTs, SLATs, and more. 
  • Built-in flexibility: smart plans accommodate future changes in assets, goals, laws, and other factors. 
  • Integrated guidance: The attorney supports you throughout the process and addresses all questions. 
  • Technical expertise: attorneys maintain current knowledge and navigate complex regulations. 

For most clients, comprehensive estate planning services cost a fraction of the value they deliver. When planned properly, your estate will transfer smoothly, efficiently, and in accordance with your wishes.


Trying to save money on estate planning by using simple online forms or inexperienced professionals may seem frugal, but it often ends up costing far more for families due to errors, disputes, taxes, and legal complications. Protect your beneficiaries and wealth by partnering with an estate planning attorney who has the qualifications, expertise, and diligence to safeguard your legacy. The peace of mind and asset protection are well worth the investment. Don’t let your estate become a disaster due to short-sighted bargain hunting.

The content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Any communications through this website with Anzen Legal Group or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Do not send any confidential or time-sensitive information through this website.

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