Providing personal attention and making you feel comfortable through the estate planning process is our primary goal. Our process is focused on getting the facts needed to develop your plan and keep you involved and informed. The typical steps are:
- After making initial contact with you we will send you an intake form to complete and return to us before our initial meeting. The intake form gives us the necessary data to help make an informed decision about what to do at the initial meeting and to prevent us spending unnecessary time focusing on basic details at the initial meeting so we can keep our attention on what is important: you and your goals. Click here to download a copy of our intake form.
- Next, one of our estate planning attorneys will meet with you in our convenient suburban location (no downtown traffic, parking ramps or parking fees) offer you a cup of coffee, water or soda and get to know you in one of our four comfortable conference rooms. At this meeting we will educate you on estate planning concepts and learn more about your family and goals. At the end of the meeting we will typically have enough information to make a recommendation to you and to give you an idea of costs involved. The initial meeting is no obligation. If you decide to do nothing or don’t want to work with us, there is no obligation and no charge.
- Next we will lay out the terms of what we propose to do and what it will cost in an engagement letter. The engagement letter is our contract with you relative to legal services. In most cases, our estate planning services are billed on a flat fee basis, meaning you will know exactly what the documents we prepare will cost, regardless of how often we meet or talk on the phone.
- We will then prepare and deliver draft documents to you to review at your convenience.
- After draft documents are prepared and delivered to you we will work with you to fine tune the documents and get you comfortable with their terms and purpose. Some clients prefer to do this over the telephone or by e-mail. Others get together with us in person, sometimes involving their family or other advisors. The choice is up to you. We are flexible and available.
- Once final drafts are developed, we will have you come into the office again to sign the documents. Most estate planning documents need to be witnessed and/or notarized. We have experienced witnesses and notaries at our offices. You will typically leave with the originals and copies. We retain copies in our files as well.
- Finally, after documents are signed, we don’t disappear. Many estate plans require further work. Depending on the situation, we will work with you to develop a plan for beneficiary changes and re-titling so that it is clear who is doing what. Many clients prefer to do things themselves, others want specific written instructions and others ask us to make implementation changes. The choice is up to you.