OUR ESTATE PLANNING process is designed to create a comprehensive, customized estate plan that reflects your wishes, goals, dreams, desires, and values. Here are the steps you can expect to take should you give us the honor of preparing your estate plan.
1. CALL US: To start your estate plan, please call us to set up an appointment. This first step is often the most difficult as we all like to think there will be plenty of time to get an estate plan done. However, we cannot predict the future and you never know when incapacity or death will strike. Once you call to begin the process you will be amazed at how good you will feel knowing you are taking steps to protect your family.
2. FILL OUT OUR WORKSHEET: Prior to your meeting, we ask that you fill out our Estate Planning Worksheet and return it to us prior to the meeting. The Worksheet assists us in preparing for our initial meeting and designing an estate plan that meets your goals. Additionally, if you complete the Worksheet, there is no charge for the initial meeting even if you decide not to retain us.
3. DESIGN MEETING: This is where the magic happens! I will meet with you to discuss your goals and wishes for your estate plan and we will work together in designing your plan. At the Design Meeting, I will get to know you, your family, and your goals and values to incorporate into your plan. Additionally, I will answer any and all questions you may have. We will discuss the various options and arrive at an estate plan that you are comfortable with, both in content and price. Once you are happy with the design of your estate plan, I will begin the drafting. The Design Meeting often takes place at our office, but I am willing to meet you any place that is convenient for you. Night and weekend appointments are also available for people who just have too much going on to squeeze in an appointment during the week. I am here to serve you!
4. SUMMARY: When the documents are drafted, I will send you a summary for your review so you can see that your estate plan achieves your goals and desires. Because the estate planning documents are lengthy, most clients prefer to review the summary. However, if you request, we will send you drafts of the actual documents to review.
5. SIGNING MEETING: At the Signing Meeting, I will go over each document that is a part of your estate plan in as much detail as you wish. Do not hesitate to request changes- this is your estate plan!!! Once you are satisfied, you will formally sign the documents and they will be effective at that time.
6. TRUST FUNDING: This all too critical step is often neglected. If you get a trust, your assets must be titled to the trust for it to work. While many lawyers will prepare a deed for your home but leave it up to you to accomplish the rest of the funding, we will work with you in the funding process until it is complete. Wills do not require funding.
7. MAINTENANCE: You should consider your estate plan as a living, breathing document. As we go through life’s journey, things change that may call for adjustments to your estate plan. Additionally, Congress from time to time will change the laws that could affect your estate plan. I recommend having your estate plan reviewed every 3-5 years, or upon one of life’s major events: births, death of a family member, marriage, divorce, and moving to a new state.
WHAT TO EXPECT