Question: “What is the process of working with our office to complete your Will and other estate planning documents?”
Answer: It’s straightforward. Note that this information sets forth our general process, but we can often tailor our process as needed to meet your needs.
Step 1: Complete our firm’s Estate Planning Form. This form will either be sent to you after scheduling an initial consultation with one of our attorneys, or once you become a client. It asks many questions about your assets, family members, etc. Although it can be lengthy and time consuming to complete, this information is important, as it is needed in order to develop a comprehensive estate plan.
Even if you do not plan to distribute anything to a family member, it is smart to identify that person and helps prevent legal challenges down the road. By providing dates of birth and contact information for all family members, it helps our office prepare the best documents possible to accomplish your goals. Also, by providing information about your assets, it helps us determine the overall picture of distribution as well as whether or not tax planning is desirable.
If two people want to do their estate planning together, such as a married couple, you each need to complete separate forms. However, if the information on a portion of the form would be the same for both of you, you only need to complete that portion once.
If you have any questions about scheduling a consultation or completing the Estate Planning Form, please contact our office – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send the completed form to our office by mail, e-mail or fax.
Step 2: If you are not yet a client, you will need to confer with one of our attorneys to discuss your estate planning needs during a 10 or 30 minute initial consultation. All estate planning work is done on an hourly basis. If you feel comfortable with our recommendations and pricing, you will enter into a clear written fee agreement for the legal services. An advance fee deposit is due prior to the initiation of work; this amount will be determined during your consultation.
Step 3: Our team will review your completed Estate Planning Form(s). If we, or you, have any questions about the form(s), we will schedule a telephone call or in-person meeting with you to discuss any outstanding items or questions. If we do not have any questions, we will draft all documents, and send them to you for your review. You can ask questions and suggest changes to your documents throughout the process, and you may request a telephone call or meeting at any time. It is important to be responsive to reviewing drafts and answering any outstanding questions. Click here for our blog post on working efficiently with your attorney.
Step 4: Once you are satisfied with your draft documents, we schedule an appointment with you to sign everything. There are technical legal requirements involved with signing a Will, so it’s important that you meet in person with one of our attorneys to sign your documents.
Step 5: Prior to your signing appointment, you’ll have a detailed telephone conference with one of our attorneys to discuss your documents and various aspects of the estate planning process including record keeping, document storage, when your documents should be updated, etc. Read Stacey’s blog post about the Personal Property Addendum in a Will.
Step 6: After your signing appointment, you’ll then receive your original documents in the mail, along with a letter providing further instructions.
Step 7: In approximately five years, you will be contacted by our office to see if any changes need to be made to your documents. It is important to review these documents periodically, to ensure all information is up to date.