We know the thought of planning your estate can feel overwhelming and complicated, so we’ve worked hard to break our estate planning process down into five simple and easy steps. Check them out below:
Step 1: Consultation
What to Expect: The consultation is our initial meeting that gives us an opportunity to get to know you and answer your questions about the process. It also gives us an opportunity to learn about you and your needs. Typically, we will ask questions about your family or other beneficiaries, as well as your assets. Do not worry if you are undecided about your beneficiaries and do not feel obligated to bring in account statements or the exact values of any assets. In almost every case, we only need a general estimate of the value of your assets.
After we understand your goals, we will discuss different estate planning options and recommend one or more for you. Most of the time we are able to give you the cost of our recommended options at that time.
For a list of common questions asked during consultations, click here. At the end of the consultation, we ask you to provide us with the correct spelling for your family, beneficiaries, and agents, along with phone numbers for your agents. If you don’t have them, we can easily get them later.
Timing: Most consultations last around one hour, although complicated estate plans may take longer.
Step 2: Engagement
What to Expect: If you decide you want to move forward with your estate plan after our consultation, we will send you an engagement letter.
This engagement letter is an agreement between you and us which contains: (a) a description of the work we will do for you; (b) our other obligations; (c) what we need and expect from you; and (d) the cost.
Depending on the situation, we may give you the engagement letter during the consultation, or mail or email it to you after the consultation. If you use email, we’re also able to send you the engagement letter via SignNow, an app that allows you to sign the engagement letter electronically. Until you sign the engagement letter, you have no obligation to us. We will not start working on your documents until you sign the engagement letter.
Timing: Our goal is to send you the engagement letter the same day as the consultation. There is no deadline for you to sign the engagement letter, but we will check in on you if we don’t hear back within a week or two.
Step 3: Document Preparation
What to Expect: After we receive the signed engagement letter and the filled-out questionnaire, we will begin drafting the documents for your estate plan.
We will use the information you provided to us during the consultation and in the questionnaire to draft the estate planning documents.
On a rare occasion, we may reach out to you for clarification or additional information about some parts of the documents. However, for the most part, you will not hear anything from us during the process. Of course, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions or concerns during this time.
Timing: We try to provide you with drafts for the estate planning documents within 2-3 weeks of receiving the engagement letter and the questionnaire.
Step 4: Document Review
What to Expect: After we have completed the first draft of your estate documents, we will send them to you along with a letter explaining them. We ask that you read the letter first, and then the documents.
After you have read everything, please call or email us with any changes, questions or comments. If it is helpful, we can schedule another meeting to go over the documents and your questions. After we have answered all your questions and made all your changes, we will send you revised drafts of the documents for another review.
Timing: The timing of the document review is completely up to you. If we do not hear from you for a little while, we will check in to see how the review is going and if we can answer any questions.
Step 5: Document Execution
What to Expect: After you have approved the estate planning documents, we will schedule a time for you to come to our office to sign the documents.
Each estate document has different requirements for how they must be signed, so we prefer to have you sign everything in our office so we can make sure that all the requirements are met. When you come to our office for this meeting, we will go over the final documents with you to make sure that they are correct and to answer any final questions you have. After they have been approved one final time, we will provide witnesses and a notary and walk you through the process of signing each document correctly.
Once the documents are signed, we will make a copy of the original documents for our files, then provide the original documents to you in either an Estate Binder or a folder. Of course, we will be happy to answer any additional questions you have throughout this process.
Timing: It normally takes around 30 minutes to review the documents and go through the process of signing them. Of course, if you have questions at any time, please call, email or text us and we will be happy to assist you!
Ready to plan your estate? Click here to contact our office today and request your free consultation. Let us help you gain peace of mind about your future!