“Well, dear me, I am surprised to have your office tell me that they cannot quote me a fee for a simple easy will… A big disappointment…You are not being upfront and are withholding your fees…So I will not be doing business with your firm.”
I don’t receive angry emails very often (in fact, I cannot remember the last time I received a scathing one like this) but I received this in my inbox recently.
This person was obviously unhappy that my staff would not quote her a fee for their estate planning over the phone.
I replied back very nicely to explain that I have instructed my staff not to quote fees over the phone because they vary on a situational basis.
There are lots of folks who believe their situation is “simple” but, when we dig in, they have unique circumstances that warrant careful family succession planning.
Or, where what a person wants to accomplish seems simple enough, but when we peak behind the curtain, their current situation needs some serious clean-up to get them where they want to be with their planning.
So, no, I cannot quote fees over the phone. Seriously, our flat fees range anywhere from zero dollars to five thousand dollars for a very high end plan.
Zero is obviously for situations when I meet with someone and with just a little guidance from me, that person doesn’t even need to hire us to do anything to get their affairs in order. They can do so on their own using the custom “homework” list I provide to each client at our meeting.
The high end of the fee range is for more complex situations, perhaps involving special needs loved ones, complex trust and tax planning, etc.
Because there is no way that I can accurately predict fees before meeting someone, asking lots of questions, reviewing their assets, current documents, titling, beneficiary designations, etc., we instead offer two hour Family Succession Strategy Sessions for clients, a bargain for only $197. (When was the last time you paid an attorney less than two hundred dollars for two hours of private one-on-one consultation time?)
At the end of those strategy sessions, once I know where a client is starting from and what they are trying to accomplish given their unique circumstances, I am then in a position to quote a flat fee for a custom crafted estate plan, or offer several different options for plans.
I’m the first to admit that our firm and the way we do business is not for everyone.
Some people don’t mind paying hourly rates to their lawyers.
Some clients prefer rock bottom prices from attorneys who offer “simple Wills” as an add-on to their core law practice.
If this describes you, then My Pink Lawyer® is not the Florida estate planning law firm for you. All we do in our office is custom craft family succession estate plans and handle uncontested probates, trust administrations, and certain types of guardianship matters. We don’t “dabble” in other law practice areas.
By the way, I did respond to the email in what I believe was a kind and tactful way. I wished the author the best for their family and invited them to reach out again if they changed their mind about meeting with one of your attorneys.
I can’t make everyone happy but everyone, including this emailer, deserves my respect and kindness.
Kristen “Can’t Make Everyone Happy” Marks