Having owned a law firm for over a decade, I can tell you that the primary purpose of our law firm is to help folks do good estate planning. We’re not just going to offer you a simple Will that determines who gets your stuff when you pass away. We also need to answer the other important questions. At Sechler Law Firm, we are changing the way estate planning is done. Our unique process allows us to serve clients in a way that focuses on providing education and building long-term relationships.
Estate Planning is Complicated
This can be attributed to the government complicating things further with the various taxes implemented. There is capital gains tax, real estate tax, inheritance tax, and federal state tax. That’s not forgetting probate and the relative costs, as well as legal fees. There is also the expense of nursing homes to consider, especially if you have a health condition requiring long term care. This will cost $170,000 per year, which most people cannot afford to pay for very long.
For many law firms, the client experience is often an afterthought. When you call a lawyer to find out more information, they schedule a paid consultation for you to meet with them. The lawyer will talk to you for an hour. At the end of the consultation, they will tell you that you don’t need to worry about what may not affect you. They will also tell you that you only need a simple Will. Four weeks later you are signing documents which you don’t understand. This is because often lawyers are lazy, and they don’t want to take the time to explain the nuances of estate planning in the one hour consultation.
You are Just a Transaction at Most Law Firms
Many lawyers don’t have the knowledge or experience to assist you with estate planning. They will offer you a Will because doing good estate planning is too complicated. You believe that you have an estate plan in place, and you don’t think about it for another ten years. You will likely also not hear from the lawyer again as they have made their money and you have document.
It often happens that when middle-class folks meet with an attorney, who mostly deals with wealthy clients, the attorney will offer these middle-class folks a simple Will. They do this because the family does not have huge wealth. The problem is that a Will is not enough, because the family still has some risks. Their risks may not be the same as a wealthy family, because a middle-class family won’t pay federal estate tax. However, a family who owns a house and $100,00 in the bank, faces the risk of what happens if either spouse gets sick. Given the cost of nursing homes, nobody works for 50 years to accumulate some assets, only to go broke due to long term care costs.
Times Have Changed
The challenge is that the world is not the same as it was five years ago. It also won’t be the same five years from now. Something that we focus on, is doing better legal and technical planning for middle-class folks.
Our Estate Planning Offering
Our approach to estate planning starts with education before the initial consultation. We invite you to come to a workshop called the “Three Secrets to Protect Your Estate And Your Assets”. This workshop is taught by one of our team members. We teach you the legal technical things you need to know in order to make a decision, and it is a free class. You will learn about wills, powers of attorney and more about the different types of trusts that we use. We explain long term care and the whole nursing home system. We explore how you can protect your house, and your money. You can find out more about these workshops, and register for them on our website: sechlerlawfirm.com/workshops.
What we used to do for many years, was offer the attendees a consultation after the workshop. As an attendee, you would have an understanding of the estate planning “tools” available to you. This means that during the consultation we could start discussing the finer details of your estate plan. What I experienced over time, is that despite having the information many clients would not make the best choice. This was because they wanted to save money. The challenge is that clients I wrote Wills for ten years ago, are coming back to me for help. This is because they are sick and need care in a nursing home, but they want to protect some assets. I came to realize that the type of estate planning which my firm offered, and many law firms still offer, is failing people. This is why I created this new process.
More Affordable Estate Planning
If you come to our workshop, and you’re interested in what we are teaching you, we offer you another free class. This is known as our Blueprint Workshop. The attorney guides you through all the technical stuff, and answers all your questions. We give you a workbook, where you can start answering some key questions. This provides much of what we need to know in order to craft your estate plan. By providing this education in a classroom setting, instead of in a consultation room, we’ve been able to reduce our billable hours. This reduced our fee which makes it more affordable for you. We are also giving you the best plan which includes all the ‘estate planning tools’ so that your estate plan will work today, and in the future.