Warning for Consumers

There is a difference between an Estate Planning Attorney and various "trust drafters" marketing their "skills". A trust is an important document with far-reaching effects. We do not recommend you place this responsibility in the hands of a paralegal, a "trust advisor", a website, or anyone else who is practicing law without being a lawyer. They are in the business of selling "one size fits all" documents. You may be told that the documents they offer have been "reviewed by an attorney". That is probably so, but beside the point. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential provisions for an estate plan. The skill and knowledge come in knowing which trust and what provisions are appropriate for your situation. That entails judgments only an attorney who has met with and interviewed you is qualified to make. This is particularly critical in Public Benefit or Special Needs Planning situations, where applicable rules are many and detailed. A non-attorney drafted plan may work just fine, and many times does, but many also fail at a critical juncture where it’s too late to add new language or do anything to correct the problems.

This advice is not included as "lawyers trying to get more business". We probably earn more fees in a year fixing problems, or trying to, than we do drafting the right plan at the outset.

San Diego Elder Law