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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do lawyers tell clients to make wills so that lawyers can make more money?

Do lawyers tell clients to make wills so that lawyers can make more money? A reader asked me that question, and my answer appears below.

"I was telling my friend that if you do not have a will it is going to cost you more money than if you have one. He said this is not true that the lawyers want to make more money. (Sorry, no offence meant with this comment.)"

No offence taken. Since you have asked me a blunt question, I'm going to give you a blunt answer.

If we lawyers wanted to make more money, we'd never help anyone do a will. The real money for us is in the litigation that is caused by inadequate, invalid or incorrect wills that people make for themselves. If all we cared about was making money, we'd be urging everyone to make their own wills so that we could reap the benefits once they passed away and their families fell to fighting over the mess.

Why would we bother making someone's will for a few hundred dollars, when we could let them make their own will, then make tens of thousands of dollars on the lawsuit?

Your friend is completely mistaken. I can pretty much guarantee that he's never actually talked to a lawyer and so has no real idea what an estate planner can do for him. One day a lawyer is going to make a nice fee when he or she handles the litigation that your friend is leaving to his family.

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