My wife and I try to abide the rule above, but sometimes we deviate from it because we cannot afford the best and we want something now. The problem with this is that we often pay twice for what we buy: once when we purchase it and once again when we get what we wanted or needed to begin with. Don’t misunderstand me; I am not encouraging debt, but I am counseling each of us to think of what it is we want and to pursue that rather for settling for something less.
I often see this in my profession. Often a person knows they need advice from an attorney but rather than doing this they get the advice of a friend, or worse yet, they pull a document from off the web thinking they have solved their problem. They pay for the document, and then they pay me to fix the mess. I just saw this with a client’s estate planning. He and his now deceased wife purchased a trust kit online and they filled it in. Unfortunately, they did not understand the legal terms, but they proceeded without legal advice. The wife died and the husband, believing he had the right, sold their home. The trust and the deeds they filled out told another story. The husband and wife titled the home in tenancy in common and not as joint tenants. Under their trust this meant that when the wife died her share passed to someone else. This was not intended, and now the cash buyer for the home wants a deed. The husband cannot give it because the house was not 100% his, and now he is in a pickle. We will fix it for him, but at a higher cost that what it would have cost to do the estate planning with us. Ask yourself: do you get a plumber to do brain surgery. If you are like most of us you don’t; recognize when you are in over your head and pay once for what you really need. Contact us if we can help.
Tip number five: Receiving counsel from an attorney is not the same as getting a document. Too many people think that all lawyers do is produce legal documents. This is best exemplified by Legal Zoom which simply sells documents, but unless you know what you are doing, using a document off the web can get you into a great deal of trouble.