What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I meet with you in your home or office for an hour or so to get to know you and understand your needs. Then I create the necessary documents and send you a draft with an explanation. You have the chance to read the draft and ask all the questions you want at no additional charge. Then we meet again for about an hour to sign the final documents.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have been practicing law for over 35 years. By limiting my practice to estate planning now, I am able to stay current with new developments in the law and pass on that knowledge to my clients.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
I list my prices openly on my website: zdtrustlaw.com. I think my prices are competitive with other lawyers. I don't charge additional fees for copying, notarizing documents,or telephone calls.
You can get a simple will done for a few hundred dollars, but it may cost you thousands of dollars more in the long run. Careful planning now will save you money.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I practiced law in California for over 20 years doing complex litigation and divorce mediation. When I moved to beautiful Rhode Island, I decided to limit by practice to estate planning because my clients are always so happy at the end of the job.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I can help young families who want to protect their children or older clients who have a variety of assets, second spouses, or special needs.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I volunteer for Clemency Project 2014, which involves over 4,000 attorneys around the country helping low-level, non-violent drug offenders who have served more that 10 years in federal prison to petition the president for clemency. Thousands of these "street-level" people, mostly poor and troubled, were sentenced under draconian laws that have now changed. People sentenced today would much lighter sentences. Clemency Project 2014 is working to bring justice back into the justice system. My role is only a tiny piece in the process, but I am proud to be part of this noble effort.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Many lawyers are happy to do a cheap will because they are counting on the probate case to come back to them when you die. Then they can charge thousands of dollars because probate will take many months to get through.
I will help you avoid the expensive and time-consuming probate process.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Ask an attorney "Will you do the work yourself or will an associate or paralegal draft the documents?"
"How much exactly will this cost me?"