Palo Alto estate tax attorney Janet Brewer discusses her fee structure and how she ensures a win-win with clients in the Bay Area and abroad.
Recently I read a blog post all about ﬁnding the time and attention to do your best creative work. It led me to resolve to stay efficient in 2011.
Have you worked hard to build up a multi-million dollar estate?
If you are my client (or leaning toward getting started with our services), you're probably a talented person who has worked very hard to build up a multimillion-dollar estate. So it's no surprise that you don't want to overpay for estate planning services. On the other hand, with your entire estate at stake, it's no time to cut corners.
Practical, tax-saving estate plans for affluent people
Relatively few people have the training and experience to do this. That’s what my clients are paying for. They know that if their estate plan is poorly designed, nobody will know until it’s too late. There are no opportunities for a do-over. When a plan doesn’t work, your loved ones have to cope with the mess.
Keeping my fee structure simple makes it easier to devote my time to the people who understand the value. That benefits us both.
It’s knowledge and experience you're investing in
Even when I can put a plan together quickly, it’s not time that a client is paying for. Rather, they are paying for me to know what they don't. In particular:
- What needs to be done
- How to get it done efficiently
- When to take which actions
- Why to pick one option over all the others, and
- Who will be affected
There are areas of law (and countless other topics) where I’m not an expert. I stay clear of those areas! On the other hand, even in my area of expertise, I give away alot of expertise free. I regularly post free answers to questions on Avvo; I offer free guides in our online Resource Room. And I publish free tips here in the Probate, Trusts, and Estate Law Blog just about weekly.
Typical estate planning fees
Unlike many Bay Area estate planning attorneys, my typical fee includes funding more than just the client's personal residence; it usually includes funding brokerage accounts, additional real estate, changing beneficiaries on life insurance policies, and changing beneficiaries on retirement accounts.