Robert H. Lyons and his daughter Kara Lyons have seen it before. Someone comes in to their law office at Lyons & Lyons in West Chester toting a 50- to 100-page estate-planning document and they have no idea what it all means.

“Some of these documents are just so ridiculously overwhelming that people are afraid to go and review them because they have no idea what they signed years ago,” says Robert. That’s why the father-daughter team has made it a mission to simplify the estate-planning process. “Just because something is 100 pages long does not mean that it’s any better than a document that’s eight pages long,” says Robert. “Most of it is just boiler-plate information that’s printed out to justify the high cost of the document.”

The problem starts when people go to presentations where they end up buying high-priced estate-planning documents, he says. “That’s been our mission to expose these oversold documents from the past,” says Robert.

The goal at Lyons & Lyons is to create estate-planning documents that the client can read and understand at a fair value. A simple will for one person, for example, costs $150 at Lyons & Lyons, says Kara. “It’s not going to break the bank and it’s something you can rely on,” she says.

In addition to a simple will, Kara recommends her clients also have health-care power of attorney, living will and durable general power of attorney documents created. “That package for the four of them is $450. So for husband and wife for all eight documents between the two of them would just be $900.”

Those four estate-planning documents for each person are usually all anyone needs, she says. Creating a trust is more complicated and is tailored to fit each client’s individual needs, says Kara.

“A lot of times people will have trusts that are entirely too complicated for their situation and a lot of times people have no business needing a trust,” she says.

People can create wills using documents on the internet, but Robert says to beware. “Chances are real good it will not be done in compliance with Ohio law and oftentimes you will spend money for an ineffective document,” he says.

“We keep our prices very reasonable so it does not make sense to economize by going to the internet or pick up a law package at the drug store,” says Robert. “When you are dealing with something as important as your estate plan and what to do with your finances and what to do with your children and what to do with you if you become disabled that’s not really a time for do-it-yourself [documents]” he says.


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