1 Step To Save Thousands In Legal Costs (Plus Gain Back 100 Hours)

Ever had a relationship that doesn’t seem to work out? You get into it with the best of intentions but it starts to devolve. Whenever you talk you begin to argue and find yourself passionately defending what you believe.

It can be painful and incredibly challenging to keep that relationship going. It’s hard to see the light at the other end of the tunnel. You begin doubting the long-term viability.

One of the things I find interesting is how good relationships with people often parallel good relationships with companies. The best companies care about you, they go out of their way to solve your problems and they’re they when you need them.

Similar to many people I have not had a “good businesses relationship” with Time Warner Cable. It seems that they do all of the wrong things: long wait times, highly mediocre attention to my problems, lack of follow up, inconsistent delivery…

It just doesn’t seem like a good fit. On top of that I pay them a lot of money (about $1,200 a year). One time on the phone I even found out that they were raising my fees each month by a couple dollars hoping I wouldn’t notice. I wasn’t getting what I needed out of this relationship. Things needed to change.

Look Under The Hood

Most people would like to just swipe the credit card and move on. That makes total sense. We’re all incredibly busy with family to drive to events, laundry to do, and a career to keep going. And those rare few free moments. All we want to do is relax.

But a little extra effort can go a long way. I like to think of it as “looking under the hood”. Would you buy a used car without having a mechanic look under the hood? Of course not. You would pay him a few extra bucks and get him to run basic checks on your car.

As a caregiver there are times when you need to “look under the hood” for your loved one. You need to sit down, take control of the situation and do a little digging.

Let me tell you a secret. One of the goldmines for “looking under the hood” can save you hundreds if not thousands is legal costs.

In an earlier post (link) I discussed how every family should set up three legal arrangements with their loved ones:

  • Durable power of attorney for finances
  • Durable power of attorney for health and advance care directive
  • HIPPA release

The number of things you’re lawyer will need to do set up these documents is pretty staggering (meet with you to talk about your goals and the products themselves, gather personal information, draft the documents, execute changes…). This all means one thing – a big price tag.

We’re talking about 10 to 15 hours of work (if not more). Lawyers that do this type of work can cost between $75 and $500 an hour. Even at the lowest price point you’re looking at close to $1,000.

So what can Time Warner teach us here? Can it help us? The insight is staggering.

When I dug into the details of my relationship with Time Warner I began looking for another option and stumbled into Hulu. Hulu was the relationship I had been looking for all along. I got 90% of the value of Time Warner, it was free, I could access it anywhere and there was no customer service. It felt great.

Suze Orman is the Hulu of the legal world. She has a cheap ($35) online solution that helps families create all of the above legal documents.

I had doubts at first but let me tell you, after trying it I am a huge fan. It’s extremely clear, you create documents seamlessly online, and Suze’s voice is there the whole way to guide you. Simply put this will save you thousands of dollars.

I didn’t know however if I had what I needed when I completed the course. I have no legal training and I was scared that I might not have documents that provide the protection I need. So I printed out the documents and shared them with a family lawyer for review. He made a few tweaks. I was all set.

Let’s dig into Suze’s course and see how she does it.


3 Reasons Why Suze Orman Is Better Than Your Harvard Educated Lawyer

1. She’s There For Every Step

Suze assumes you have no legal or business background but instead need a coach that explains each and every step. She speaks to you on each page through an audio track. I found this particularly helpful to stay on track and informed about what I was doing.

Suze also brings on a legal expert, Janet Dobrovolny, that goes into detail on some of the more nuanced legal decisions that you need to make. It’s clear that Janet has been coached by Suze’s team because she is as clear as Suze.

As you probably know, Suze is forceful personality and doesn’t hold back any punches when it comes to telling you what to do. But we all need someone to kick us in the but every once and a while. She was exactly what I needed and I have found that the quality of her content matches her big personality.

Below you can see the audio track in the upper right hand corner. You can even fast forward and rewind Suze to fit your own schedule.

Suze Ormans

2. She Gives You Immediate Access To Critical Documents

Feel like you have a disorganized filing system (or none at all)? Not to worry, all of the documents you create through Suze’s program can be stored right on the website.

And the creation of the documents is easy peasy. Simply listen to the audio track at each stage to make some educated decisions. As you answer questions the program will place them directly into the documents. When you’re finished with a section your documents are ready to go!

Need to access the documents? Simply log in, click on the appropriate sections and your documents will be right there waiting for you.

3. She Makes It So Simple You Could Be A Kid (And Still Succeed)

I was surprised how easy it was to get through her program and how clear the results were. At first, I was scared that I was going to spend $35 and then need to go to a lawyer anyway. But let me tell you it worked.

The software is simple and easy to use. The coaching comes at the right times and with the right level of detail. The program is easy to jump in and out of if you’re busy. I highly recommend it.


From Participator To Dominator

Below are three tips that will make you excel after completing Suze’s program.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

You must deliver your durable power of attorney for finances documentation to the relevant banks and financial institutions. If you don’t share the documentation, the legal arrangement won’t work. They may also have supplemental documentation for you to fill out.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health

Similar to the finances arrangement, the responsibility is with you to deliver the necessary documentation to hospitals and doctors. Walk through the documentation with the necessary doctors.

Also inform family members of where the documentation resides. They may need to access it during a health crisis.

HIPAA Release

HIPPA release isn’t included in Suze Orman’s program but it’s an extremely easy document to set up. When you review your documents with your lawyer ask him to create a simple HIPPA release form.

As with the durable power of attorney for health, this form should be shared with your loved one’s hospital and doctors. Don’t forget this step, as not having access to medical records during a health crisis (particularly if your loved one is incapacitated) can be paralyzing for a family.


Gain Back 100 Hours Of Your Life

We’re all incredibly busy and sometimes we can be downright exhausted. After a long day of caring for a loved one we can come home tired, frustrated and wondering how it’s possible that we don’t have a free minute to ourselves.

One of the most challenging financial responsibilities we have with our loved one is beginning to collect documentation. Often times our loved one tries to avoid this conversation all together.

We feel frustrated because we just want to help.

Below is a comprehensive list of documents you want to collect from a loved one. Having them all listed here in one place will save you many hours of time and effort.

There’s no need to plow through it all at once. It’s more of a reference tool. It’s all there and easy to access. Now take some of your new found free time and do something for yourself!

Must Have Documents

Financial Documents

Health Documents

Published: December 11, 2014
By: JP Adams

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One Response to 1 Step To Save Thousands In Legal Costs (Plus Gain Back 100 Hours)

  1. Shannon says:

    Excellent check list. Thank you.

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