What Does the Process of Getting an Estate Plan Involve?
When I meet with my clients, I go over the various estate planning documents and whether a revocable living trust is necessary. Sometimes, a trust is not necessary with the use of a beneficiary deed and other pay on death designations.
Most of my clients come in with the goal of making arrangements for after they die. However, I also like my clients to have the documents which will allow them access to their assets and health care if they become ill or incapacitated. That is, they can their person of choice in charge of their finances and health care.
I like my clients to understand their documents so, at the initial conference, I go over the related issues and uses of the estate planning documents. Also, I include instructive information in the letter that comes with your draft documents and at the signing conference. Finally, I am available to answer questions about the documents and how to use them after the signing. Such calls inquiries are normally free of charge as I normally bill afterwards for documents or research.
From start to finish, the process of getting your estate planning documents involves the following:
Initial conference to discuss needs and explain estate planning documents
- a Last Will and Testament
- a revocable living trust (particularly if there are minor children involved)
- certificate of trust
- trust asset checklist
- deed for property in trust (sometimes we use a beneficiary deed instead of a trust and deed to the trust depending on several factors; for example if a client has real estate in two different states or planning to leave assets to minors, then a trust is advantageous)
- durable (financial) power of attorney
- health care power of attorney
- health care declaration (living will)
- explanation letter
- A signing conference.
After the signing conference, I can assist with preparing the designated beneficiary forms or other title questions, normally free of charge. If a couple comes in, then each will have a Will, durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney and health care declaration.
I normally can give an estimate as to the cost involved at the time of the initial meeting. The fee for time involved at the initial meeting is normally charged, unless I am not retained. This is because there is a great deal of information obtained during that meeting which is used to prepare your estate planning documents.
My focus is to give you documents that you can use as well as legal advice that is helpful. There are people more expensive and less expensive than me, but the less expensive normally do not give the legal advice that is helpful for using the documents to their full potential.
I usually work in my Sun City office on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays and in Phoenix on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments can be scheduled through my staff at the Sun City telephone number.
I would be honored to work with you.
If you do an estate plan too, the initial conference and signing conference can be used toward those documents. It is a good idea to be sure to have financial and health powers of attorney when you live with someone, even if you do not name each other. The problem is, that without such documents, if one of you is sick, the other is stuck with limited ability to help with health care and no ability to access finances.
When I meet with my clients, I go over the options of having a trust or not having a trust and I like to focus on educating my clients.
I like my clients to understand their documents so I go over the related issues and uses at the initial conference, in a letter and at the signing conference, and am available to answer questions after the signing free of charge-- only billing for new documents or research.
If the fees seem high, please do not be discouraged. I would be happy to meet with you and discuss your needs and give you an idea of what I think would be most helpful for you. If you decide not to retain me, I will not charge for the initial conference (which lasts about 45 minutes). If you choose to retain me, then the time spent in the initial conference will be reflected in the estimate of fees and the bill.