Should You Hire a Professional to Perform a Service You Could DIY?

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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“My friend walked in and renewed her temporary residency at the immigration office no problem yesterday without hiring anyone to assist her. And she doesn’t even know Spanish!”


So read the Facebook comment from my recent post where I publicly thanked the facilitator we hired in Mexico to assist us in obtaining our temporary residency and Mexican driver’s licenses.


Ah, the age-old question…


Should you hire a professional for a service that you may be able to do on your own?


In our case, after reading copious volumes on the subject of applying for Mexican temporary residency, including conflicting information and horror stories from folks about the process, Andrew and I decided that hiring a professional who knows the local folks in charge would be well worth our time and money. After all, we would only be in Zihuatanejo for one week this time.


Having met this gentleman through a happenstance meeting with an American couple who has used him for years to manage their vacation property in Zihua, we decided it would be a “no-brainer” to work with him.


Not advertising my business myself and relying on direct referrals and online reviews, of course I wanted to sing our facilitator’s praises when our application was approved on the first try without a hitch.


Of course, there were naysayers online saying it was a waste of money to hire someone to perform a service that, in theory, does not require any special expertise.


I know better firsthand, however, how cutting corners on one’s estate planning can cause a lot of heartache and money for loved ones who assumed their parents had their affairs in order.


Yes, in theory, one can draft their own Will. But many folks mistakenly believe that their Will avoids probate or that their Will controls the disposition of all of their assets when they die.


Maybe, but there is more to planning one’s affairs than just a well-drafted piece of paper.


One must know the titling of their assets, the beneficiaries on file with financial institutions, not to mention what Federal and State laws say about who you can or must leave your assets to when you die.


At least with our temporary residency application, we knew that day that we were successful. But, if we had attempted it on our own and failed, at least we would have had another opportunity to hire a professional to guide us on the second attempt.


This is often not the case with one’s estate planning. Too often a person won’t know if their estate plans are really going to work the way they are intended until it is too late to change anything because of incapacity or death.


Unfortunately, there are rarely “do-overs” with your estate planning which is why our clients work with our attorneys at My Pink Lawyer®, estate planning professionals, to get the job done right on the first try.


Also unfortunate was my temporary residency photo. As probate attorney Lauren Merritt in our office pointed out between her guffaws, with my fishtail braided hair, and unused glossy passport photos in hand, my residency photo looks like I am an MMA fighter.


Kristen “MMA Fighter I Am Not Even If I Look Like One” Marks


P.S. Thank you to everyone who donated clothes and toys to bring to Mexico. They were a huge hit with the kids in Zihua!


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