#RichLifeLawyer Show 008: How to Manage Your Estate Planning Attorney

Managing your estate planning attorney is all about two things. First, it’s about picking the right estate planning attorney for you.

Second, it’s about understanding what your estate planning attorney’s job really is (it’s not to specifically help you avoid taxes).

Curious about what to do about these two things? Then watch the video…

Question of the day: what is the best experience you’ve ever had like with a service? That can be an attorney, it could be like restaurant, it could be plumber, dentist, you know, car mechanic, I just want to learn a little about what the best service was that you ever received and maybe like little about why it was really great


Christopher Small

P.S. Do you have kids? Have you completed guardianship paperwork? Have you done it correctly? Click here to find out what happens if you don’t do anything: Are you okay with a judge choosing the guardians of your children?

P.P.S. Do you own a business? Do you have a plan so the business, and your family, can survive if something happens to you? If not, click here to learn how simple it is to protect your business and your family from tragedy: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Catastrophic Failure.

P.P.P.S. Do you have no kids and think you don’t need an estate plan? Single and think a will is only for married couples. You couldn’t be more wrong. Click here to learn more: 5 reasons estate planning is a must have even if you don’t have kids.

Christopher Small is a Kirkland estate planning attorney who helps people get rich and live forever. He is also the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC.

#RichLifeLawyer Show 008 Transcript: How to Manage Your Estate Planning Attorney

Hey everybody and welcome to episode eight of The Rich Life Lawyer Show.

I am your host as always Christopher Small, I’m excited to be here with you today and talk about me, a little bit.


You know, it took eight episodes and I’ve finally get to do it so I’m like pretty excited. I’m talking about, here I’m talking about how to manage me. How to manage your estate planning attorney and you know, you may think how, that’s a weird, that’s kind of a weird way to describe it – manage your attorney, but it’s the truth.

You are the one that’s in charge of this relationship. You are the one that is having a service performed for you. So, you are the one that needs to manage the relationship.

The other way around that you may not be in good estate planning attorney – client relationship, alright?

There’s two main things that you need to do to manage this relationship.

Thing number one is that you need to pick someone that’s right for you from the beginning.

That’s probably the hardest thing. If you Google Kirkland estate planning attorney, I’m sure there’s like a thousand or they’re probably more than a thousand. But the main results that show up believe or not that doesn’t mean there a million Kirkland estate planning attorneys out there but you know, like in Seattle alone there are probably a hundred, I don’t know.

They’re probably those, there are probably twenty really good ones, quite frankly, that can do a good job for you. But not all twenty of those are going to be the right fit for you.

You know, they may not have the style that you like, they may not, I don’t know, you may not like the tone of their voice, I don’t know. Who knows, you may think they look too young.

You know, it could be a whole bunch of different things but the fact is you start that way that you start is going to be indicative of the way that you finish, right?

So, a few tips on one to begin with that’s good, then you’re going to end up typically with somebody that’s pretty good. And, so how can you do this?

There’s a whole bunch of different ways and you probably want to, sort of use all of these a little bit.

Number one, ask for referrals.

People that are going be good referrals versus from you are going to be people that have had their estate plans completed. So, if you have a friend or somebody that tells you, “Yeah, I got this guy,” then, you want to make sure that they actually have the estate planning done from that person.

If they say no, what you sometimes find is that “You ask my cousin. And he just graduated from law school and he does estate planning and family law and business law and criminal law.”

I don’t know if you want to hang out with that guy for estate planning. Probably a great guy you like to have a beer with but do you want to him protecting your children and talking about how you can potentially save or lose thousands of dollars on taxes? I don’t know if you do.

But you do want to ask. The ones that actually have estate plans completed can tell you what their experience was like and tell you if they liked the person that they were using.

You want to read reviews.

So go to places like Yelp. Go to places like even Google, you know. Google plus has a, will take reviews. Avvo will take reviews. Avvo.com is a resource.

Back to referrals for a second. People that you do want to ask would be other members of your team. Financial planners, accountants, right? Those are two people that work with Bellevue estate planning attorneys a lot because the relationship between, there’s a symbiosis between all of them, right?

Because the Bellevue estate planning attorney is going to, want to know a little bit about what your financial future’s going to look like and what your planning is like. And saying with the accountant, right? We’re going to make, you want to make sure that your taxes are all worked out between the two so that everything works together, right?

You don’t want to have something that’s out of line and it doesn’t all match up. So, those are good place, those are good people to ask and you know, sometimes ask for more than one. So, if they give you somebody that like, “This is going to be a great person for,” then go check them out. Hopefully they’d recommend us. Really, that’d be cool.

So, talk to your financial planner, talk to your accountant, talk to other people in the industry. You know, and see, see who they like.

Go and look at reviews.

Go and look at people’s websites, you know, quite frankly, look, there are people that you, one of the reasons that I make these videos, is so that you get an opportunity to know me and know my firm, right? So that you get an opportunity to see what we are like. So you get an opportunity to see that we know what we’re talking about and that we care about, alright?

I’m giving you this information for free and basically what I’m telling you, you could go and go and hire somebody else. And that’s okay, right? Because for me, the idea is to give. Give, give, give. You know, hope that you come back and talk to us.

Go read articles. Google Bellevue estate planning lawyer and see what pops up and see if it’s somebody that you like. And then, go meet with them and make sure that they, your styles match. You know, make sure that they seem genuine and have your best interest.

You want to call and set up the meeting and go through the process so that you can see what the experience is like with that person. You know, if you call and nobody answers, and they don’t call you back, you going to call three or four times, that’s not a good sign, right? That’s not a good sign. Their customer service should be excellent.

For the money that you’re going to be paying for this service, you should get a great, you should have a great experience. And we believe that in our firm. That’s why we provide a great experience.

So that’s number one. You know, make sure you pick somebody that is right for you from the beginning.

That second thing that you can, should do to manage your estate planning attorney is to just, to make sure that the plan you put together carries out what you want to do, right? We as estate planning attorneys, if we’re not, sort of conscious of it, can fall into the trap where we always want to do the same thing for all of our clients.

Maybe that is tax avoidance, maybe that is probate avoidance, you know, maybe that is whatever. Maybe we always want to do a trust for whatever reason, alright? Whatever these things are.

But at the end of the day, our main job is to make sure that your wishes are carried out and to go one step further though, to make sure that you understand that if there are consequences with carrying your wishes out the way that you want, that you’re okay with that, alright?

So if you want to do x, and it’s going to create a tax burden of y, as long as you understand that this is going to happen and you’re okay with that, then your estate planning attorney should go forward with x.

If you want to give all of your money to your favorite pet, or create a trust and give, you know, 90% of your money away to your pet, then you should be able to do that. It’s your money.

What we’re here to do is to simply to carry out your wishes first of all, and but to also make sure that you understand all of ramifications of your decision.

For example if your giving 90% of your wealth to your pet, then that’s 90% that your family may not be able to get, right? But if that’s you want to do, that’s what you want to do.

That’s how you need to manage your estate planning attorney to make sure that they’re carrying out your wishes. You know, assuming that you have all of the information, alright? And they should. They should do that.

And we do that, you know, we tell you “Look, hey, I think it’s a bad idea but if what you want to do, for these reasons X, Y, Z not just because, but if that’s what you want knowing this, then we’ll do it for you.” And we will.

Alright, so let’s see, question of the day, what is the best experience you’ve ever had like with a service? That can be an attorney, it could be like restaurant, it could be plumber, dentist, you know, car mechanic, I just want to learn a little about what the best service was that you ever received and maybe like little about why it was really great, alright?

Remember, if you have questions, I have answers. On Twitter, you can find us @richlifelawyer, on Facebook.com/richlifelawyer just use hashtag #richlifelawyershow. I’ll see you next time.