Many potential clients, acquaintances and friends (sometimes fearfully) ask me how do they create an estate plan? Like many things, the unknown is most times the scariest part of undertaking a large project like an Estate Plan. The most important part of what I do is take the burden off of their shoulders and create a plan that is tailor-made for each family’s unique dynamic, set of assets, and wishes.
Steps, Costs and Typical Clients
Step 1 – Initial consultation
Our estate planning process begins with a face-to-face initial consultation. The initial consultation provides an opportunity for us to get to know each other and determine the type and scope of planning that is best for you and your family. In order to get ready for this initial consultation, clients are asked to fill out the Estate Planning Questionnaire right on our website. It is secure so you don’t have to worry where this information will end up (P.S. it goes straight to the Attorney’s inbox). Feel free to omit any account numbers or sensitive information as that won’t be necessary for the initial consultation. Here is a link to the Estate Planning Questionnaire.
Step 2 – Planning stage
We will gather information, discuss options for organizing and managing your affairs, and design an estate plan that reflects your wishes and meets your objectives. The number of meetings depends on the complexity of your situation. For example, planning for beneficiaries with special needs or creating charitable trusts may take additional meetings.
Step 3 – Drafting stage
We take the time to create effective and valid legal documents (wills, trusts, etc.) necessary to implement your plan. Each estate plan is different so the time it takes to create these documents depends on the intricacy of the plan.
Step 4 — Document Review
We will thoroughly review your draft documents with you and advise you of any additional steps that you need to take to assure your estate plan operates correctly, such as changing beneficiary designations on insurance or retirement benefits, retitling of accounts, and (where applicable) the funding of trusts. The number of meetings depends on the complexity of your situation. Many times we can include this document review with the signing conference (see below).
Step 5 – Signing Conference
We will meet to execute (sign) your documents and assure that all legal formalities are met. The signing conference may also include an in-depth review of your wealth and asset inventory and creation of correspondence to your banking and financial institutions to make sure any trusts created are properly funded.
What will it cost?
In a majority of cases we work on a fixed fee basis. In more complex situations, we may propose work on an hourly basis or a combination of fixed fees and hourly charges.
Who are our typical clients?
We work with clients of all ages, married and single, with and without children, blended families, multi-generational families, business owners, professionals, corporate executives, and retirees. We look forward to working with you!