Comparison Shopping: For Yogurt? Good. For Estate Planning? Not So Much.
One of my favorite stores is Costco. I try to purchase as much as possible there because it saves money on all sorts of things. The best thing about Costco is that I am able to compare the price of the products I buy with the prices I pay at my local stores.
I know, for example, that I pay an average of 49 cents for a container of Yoplait yogurt at Costco, and 70 cents for the same product at my local grocery store. For a family that eats a lot of yogurt, the savings of 21 cents a container really adds up over the course of a year.
Apples and Oranges and Wills
All of us are looking for a bargain, and none of us want to pay any more for something than absolutely necessary. So we spend a lot of time hunting around to make sure we get the products we buy for the lowest price.
In doing so however, it is important for us to compare items of similar quality. Otherwise, we may think we are getting a bargain, when what we are actually getting is an inferior product.
Since the products we buy are tangible, it is easy to compare them. It is a bit more challenging to compare services.
At times, we may be tempted to do the job ourselves or to hire the cheapest service provider to do the work, only to realize at a later date that it probably would have been worth spending a bit more to have the job done right.
The consequences that result from these seemingly money-saving solutions can often be expensive or even tragic. Nowhere is this more true than with estate planning.
A qualified attorney is not just a document preparation service but a trained professional who can evaluate your particular circumstances and advise you on ways to minimize estate taxes, avoid costly court proceedings, and ensure your children are cared for by the guardian of your choice rather than a guardian selected by a judge who doesn’t know you or your values.
The “Bottom Line”
The bottom line is that the cheapest alternative is not always the wisest choice.
When you prepare your estate plan, you are creating documents that will protect your family in the event the unthinkable happens. You owe it to them to consult a qualified professional who will evaluate your individual life circumstances, advise you on the best way to accomplish your estate planning goal, and tailor your estate planning documents to carry out those goals.
Hunting for the lowest price is wise when shopping for many things. But when planning your estate, it should not be the only factor you consider.