Writing wills is probably the easiest thing a lawyer can do. Shortly after I graduated from law school I was diagnosed with final stage terminal cancer. I was hospitalized for five months straight and then couldn’t work for several years. It was a major battle. When you’ve been that sick you are unemployable, so I finally had to hang out a shingle for a law office and practiced alone. I had no clue what to do, so I started to learn about writing wills. Uncle Joe and Aunt Gertie need one. Everybody needs a will, so I could get clients by writing wills.
I got the form books on writing wills, and they didn’t help. They “assumed” you knew all the little details about writing wills, and they just gave you the forms and some ethereal explanations. There were tons of little questions I had about writing wills and living trusts. If you’re in a big firm, you just go ask the partners, but I didn’t have partners. Except for one law professor that helped answer some questions every few months, the attitude of the lawyers was, “If we don’t tell him, then there’s one less lawyer we have to compete with.”
I did finally figure out the scoop on writing wills by getting little pieces here and there. When I really figured out what attorneys were doing when they were writing wills, I became infuriated. It is a total setup. Writing wills is easy; it’s the attorney’s retirement plan. In lots of cases it’s more of a “marriage contract” between you and the attorney, than it is a will. I was stunned at what they did when they were writing wills for clients. They locked them into their services and threw roadblocks in their way. So, I started to write and warn people. Then I started to give lectures on writing wills and living trusts.
You don’t need to get setup. If you know the principals, writing wills and living trusts is easy. I have learned the hard way, and I remember the “little things” that weren’t obvious. Because I remember, I can pass those little “Oh yah, by-the-way” tidbits along to you. For example, if you have minor children, you need to name guardians. You don’t just write in your will, “Jon and Mary guardians to the kids.” Put restrictions, coach the judge. It should be “Jon and Mary, guardians to the kids; provided they are still happily married and living together.” If Mary is divorced and living with a sleaze ball, you don’t want your kids to go live there.
I have prepared a series of six 8-10 minute videos to show you the six worst mistakes people make when they are writing wills and living trusts for themselves or their attorney is writing wills and living trusts for them. Yes, I think you probably need a living trust. The point is you need to know and not just blindly walk in off the street and say, “Hi Mr. Lawyer. Here I am. Set me up.” If you say that, you’ll get set up. Avoid the setup and watch the short videos. Just click and the videos are free.