Trust Matters The Probate Pipeline Why We Do Things Differently JANUARY 2018 (480) 418-8448 | KEYSTONELAWFIRM.COM
subtle, insidious advertising. Who are these grief-stricken people going to call if they need help with an estate dispute, or if their $300 dollar will slips into probate? They’ll call the person whose name is on all the documents, of course. This is the vicious, money-making cycle behind all those cheap wills and trusts. A bare-minimum will often leads to probate, requiring further estate planning to sort out the mess. As I’ve written about in my book, probate is nothing short of a nightmare. It’s traumatic, prolonged, and most important to the industry, expensive. This is why many planners aren’t interested in preventing it from happening. These hucksters build what I call a “probate pipeline.” The documents they provide at the outset are so bad, they seem designed to get mourning families into the courtroom. These sorts of disputes are where they make their real money.
As an experienced estate planner, I’ve seen the ugly underbelly of this industry. Many planners prey on the fears of vulnerable people to make a living. Yes, there are those out there who legitimately
want to help families and who fight to keep their clients out of probate. But they are the exception, not the rule. Too many firms rely on the grief and indecision of their clients to stay in business. Let me explain. Most of the industry operates by offering inexpensive documentation to lure in clients. A new planner might hang their shingle advertising $300 wills or trusts
“The documents they provide at the outset are so bad, they seem designed to get mourning families into the courtroom. These sorts of disputes are where they make their real money.”
This is, for lack of better words, messed up. The way things are, the system incentivizes bad or incomplete documentation. When planners stand to make money off of a probate case, why would they fight to keep it from happening? We at Keystone recognize this temptation, which is why we’re doing our part to break the cycle.
We do estate planning that works for you. It’s right in our contract: if you
starting as low as $499. These cheap plans are designed for mass- market appeal — and they work. This upstart suddenly gets hundreds of eager clients, all of whom believe they are protecting their family’s future. This is where things get really ugly. The estate planner begins to play a waiting game. A few years pass, maybe as many as five or 10, then the members of their large clientele begin to die. The bereft families receive their end of life documents, with the planner’s name written on every letterhead. This works as a sort of
end up in probate, we pay the probate fees, subject to the terms and conditions of your engagement agreement, of course. This means we’re incentivized to always have you and your family’s best interests at heart. What a novel idea.
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