Basic Estate Planning Process
Our firm adheres to a specific process for each estate plan we create. For most estate plans, the process includes the following meetings:
- Get Acquainted Meeting: This is just what it sounds like. We want to make sure prospective clients have an opportunity to ask all their questions, confirm they are comfortable with us and determine a likely fee range before making any commitment. We do not bill anyone for anything until the following three things are confirmed:
- The client feels this is the right time to proceed;
- The client feels we are the right firm for them; and
- The estimated price is acceptable.
If all three of these considerations are confirmed, we will deliver a "New Client" informational packet to the client, together with a list of things to bring to the next meeting. If not, we will not move forward and the prospective client will not be charged.
- Data Gathering and Design Meeting: This is where the attorney/client relationship is formalized. We review the asset information and create a spreadsheet inventorying all estate assets. This helps us identify important planning options and design considerations. Then the attorney leads the client through a design conversation that will ensure the ultimate plan will meet the client's wishes and accomplish their estate planning goals. This is VERY different than word-processing attorneys who simply give their prospective clients a set of forms to fill out, to then return a standardized form with the various answers plugged in.
- Signing Meeting: After the documents have been designed and drafts have been reviewed by the client, all final documents are prepared and a signing meeting is set. At the conclusion of this meeting, the estate plan is effectively in place. Your attorney will have personally drafted each of your legal documents and will review them with you to make sure everything is just right.
- Funding Meeting: This meeting is for the purpose of making sure all of the client assets that require a title change are handled and adjustments to beneficiary designations are initiated. The importance of funding cannot be over-emphasized. For your plan to actually "work" as intended, complete funding must be accomplished. This is why we insist on supervising it as part of our process!