Our Firm's Approach to Estate Planning
The Initial Sit-Down
To begin an estate plan, we will sit down together either in person or via Zoom. We will discuss difficult subject matter. The more information you have provided in advance, the more focused the first meeting will be. This will involve a lot of back and forth discussion.
Depending on your needs, you will be provided with a fee agreement for drafting and delivering your estate plan. If you are planning with a spouse, you will be asked to sign a dual representation agreement. (For more on anticipated fees, click here.)
You may leave our meeting with more questions and "homework." Your estate planning documents will be drafted once (1) the fee has been paid, (2) you have provided any homework necessary to drafting, and (3) you feel confident in the plan we have discussed. This does not have to happen at the first meeting. In fact, the more complex your situation, the more likely this will be a series of conversations. Your planning fee will include these follow-up conversations (subject to certain time constraints).
Drafting and Review
Depending on the scope of your plan, delivery of your estate planning tools may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Follow-up questions may arise during drafting. Additional requests made during this process--such as adding a healthcare directive or pet trust, or my consulting with your personal accountant--may result in additional fees. (See your fee agreement for details.)
Most estate planning documents require uninterested witnesses. If you let me know in advance, I may be able to provide discreet witnesses and notarize the documents for you. (If you are an Iowa client, limited by COVID-19-related orders, or choose to leave the office without execution, I will send you the documents for execution at your convenience.)
If you have chosen to execute wills and healthcare directives at my office, you will leave with a master original of your document plus a copy for sharing, and (if you choose) a second original will remain in my records. For trusts, depending on the size of the document, you may leave with one master copy and at least one memorandum of trust and/or bank letters. (More copies can be provided for an additional copy fee, as some trust documents exceed 100 pages.)