Our 5-Step Process
Working With Our Firm – Taking The First Step
If you would like to consider estate planning with us the first step is to contact our office and schedule an initial meeting with one of our attorneys. The initial meeting is a no obligation consultation that will often take two to three hours to complete. We ask two things in return: 1) if you are married (and are planning with your spouse), both spouses must attend the meeting, and 2) please complete our Personal Information Form to the best of your ability.
Introductory Packet and Personal Information Form
Shortly after your initial meeting is scheduled, we will send you our introductory packet containing a letter, information about our firm, our Personal Information Form (PIF) and other documents of interest. The letter provides details about your initial meeting and requests information that will help facilitate a comprehensive discussion.
We request that you complete the Personal Information Form contained in the introductory packet and mail, fax or email it to our office before your appointment. The completed PIF will make your initial meeting more valuable by allowing us to focus on planning that will be relevant and meaningful to your situation. You are welcome to download the Personal Information Form from our website.
Advisors Are Welcome
If you have a financial advisor, CPA, or other advisor that you want to attend your initial meeting they are welcome to attend. We believe that a multidisciplinary team approach often results in improved planning. If you plan to bring one or more of your advisors, please let our office know.
Initial No Obligation Meeting – Discovery, Education & Design
During the discovery phase we work together to listen and learn about your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations and your concerns.
During the education phase you educate us about your family and your goals and we educate you regarding our definition of estate planning, the importance of property ownership, the importance of contract law and how beneficiary designations often control the disposition of many assets, estate administration (trust administration and/or the probate process), income and estate tax planning and other topics that arise. We have the opportunity to learn about you and you have the opportunity to learn about us.
If it looks like there is a good fit, we work with you to discuss the many decision choices most relevant to your circumstances and to design your plan. We believe in the adage that a “picture is worth a thousand words’ and often use diagrams to help you to visualize your choices and to evaluate alternative plan designs. In some cases, our new clients need a second meeting to design a plan; however, more often, our clients want to efficiently move forward with implementation of a plan designed at the initial meeting.
Signing Meeting – Legal Implementation
Once your plan is designed, typically we schedule a legal implementation (signing) meeting about two to four weeks later. During the intervening time, we follow up as necessary regarding the details of your plan.
During the implementation meeting we often spend two to three hours reviewing your legal instruments with the help of a design diagram to make sure that we answer all of your questions and to make any necessary changes.
After signing, our team members work with you to develop a spreadsheet to coordinate ownership of your assets and beneficiary designations. You may separately engage our firm to assist with the implementation of asset titling and to assist with your beneficiary designations to the extent you wish.
Follow Through – Our Client Care Membership Program™
Our experience with hundreds of plans tells us that you will eventually want to make changes to your plan. This may result from changes to: 1) your family, 2) your finances, 3) your heath, or 4) the Law (tax law or otherwise).
For this reason, we will discuss our Client Care Membership Program™ and the benefits it brings and you will be offered an opportunity to join that program. We believe that it is more important to your family to have a relationship with us rather than just a transaction. We are a team of professionals and intend to be there when you need us.