In my last blog post, I explained estate planning has a design phase that resembles the design phase for a kitchen remodel. In this post, I’ll discuss the construction phase of estate planning. In estate planning, the construction phase involves a law firm’s work in drafting documents that fully implement the design you’ve worked through with your attorney and assisting you in executing these documents correctly pursuant to the applicable legal requirements.

When constructing a remodeled kitchen, it’s important to become part of a team. Specifically, “An architect or a designer can help you understand your role in the project as well as the contributions of other team members.” In an estate planning context, “the other team members” may include paralegals and legal assistants as well as attorneys. These professionals fulfill a valuable role by preparing drafts of documents at lower hourly rates to reduce your overall construction costs for the estate plan. By being a part of the team, recognize that attorneys, paralegals, or legal assistants will likely have additional questions for you that arise as they complete their work. Being ready and responsive will reduce your costs and improve the ultimate product.

Another way you will act as part of the construction team is to carefully review the draft documents before signing them. Do these documents reflect the priorities that you expressed to the law firm? To the best of your knowledge, does everything look as it should? Do you understand everything contained in the draft documents? If not – ask questions! Sometimes, clients read their documents and decide to head in a different direction upon seeing the plan on paper. In a kitchen remodel, this would be a “change order.” In estate planning, a change order involves communicating with the law firm’s team about the changes you’d like to see, having the pertinent documents revised, and then carefully reviewing those changes to make sure they truly reflect your wishes.

Once you are satisfied with the draft estate planning documents, the final step in the construction phase will be meeting with the law firm’s team to sign your documents to ensure all legal requirements have been met.

Hopefully, when you’ve completed the estate planning process, you will feel as relieved and happy as when you prepare your first meal in your brand-new kitchen! By fully engaging in both the design and the construction phases of the plan, you put yourself in a position to achieve success. We’d be happy to be a part of your team.

This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.

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