Our Firm's Approach to Estate Planning
The Initial Sit-Down
To begin an estate plan, we will sit down together and talking about difficult subject matter. The more information you have provided in advance, the more focused the first meeting will be. (The form below is a good way to get started, but it won't be the last time you are asked to fill out a questionnaire.) This will involve a lot of back and forth discussion.
Depending on your needs, you will likely know prior to leaving my office what the fee will be for creating your estate plan. Either at that meeting or in a later advice letter, you will be asked to sign a fee agreement. If you are planning with a spouse, you will be asked to sign a dual representation agreement.
You may leave my office with more questions and "homework." Your estate planning documents will not be drafted until (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 this may morph into a series of conversations. Your planning fee will include these follow-up conversations.
Drafting and Review
Once we have settled on the products and particulars of your plan, I will begin drafting the documents. Depending on the scope of your plan, this may take a week or it may take more than a month.
Follow-up questions may arise during drafting. Additional requests made during drafting--such as adding a healthcare directive or pet trust, or my consulting with your personal accountant--may result in additional fees. (See fee agreement for details.)
During the review process, you will be able to make any last minute changes prior to executing the documents. If you need me to provide the witnesses, you will let me know in advance and I will provide discreet witnesses and notarize the documents for you. (If you choose to leave the office without execution, this will be your choice; however, I will only retain a copy for you if the documents have been properly executed.)
If you have chosen to execute wills and healthcare directives at my office, you will leave with a master copy of your document plus a copy for sharing, and (if you choose) an 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.)