As an estate planning attorney, I have worked with individuals and couples who put off completing their estate plan out of anxiety regarding the process. Oftentimes, they anticipate that the process of completing their estate plan will require a lot of paperwork and legwork on their end. They are overwhelmed by the idea of planning their estate – not only by making the decisions they have to make, but also with uncertainty as to how they will be able to organize all of their assets and get what they need in order for their plan to be set forth and followed.
If you are someone who has these same anxieties and apprehensions regarding your estate plan, I will repeat what I tell many of my clients – “These worries are why you are hiring an attorney!” It is my goal when working every client that the most work they have to do is fill out the intake form and make an appointment to come in.
Here is what a typical estate planning process looks like when you work with Schromen Law, LLC.
Step 1 – Scheduling and Preparing for the Initial Meeting
The process begins when you contact Schromen Law, LLC and make an appointment for your free 30-minute initial consultation. Once you have scheduled the appointment, you will be sent the “Estate Planning and Will Information Form.” This form is where you fill out important personal information about your family, financial assets and desired fiduciaries. It is preferred that you complete the form and return it prior to your initial consultation to allow any research or follow up questions that may be necessary to happen before the meeting. This allows us to make the most of your free consultation.
If this is not possible, you may complete the form and bring it to your initial consultation. At this point in the process, you do not need to do an extensive search for documents, although you may bring as many documents to the consultation as you would like to. It is important that you focus on the amount and type of ownership of your assets. If you own life insurance, you should indicate if it’s a term or whole policy, and provide the name of the owners, the insured and the beneficiary(s). If you have any previous estate planning, I will ask to review those documents as well.
Step 2 – The Initial Consultation
During the initial consultation, I will answer all of your questions concerning my practice, what I do, and the overall planning process. Most importantly however, it is time for me to get to know you – to listen and learn about you and your wishes regarding your estate plan. I will ask questions regarding your family and your values, aspirations and goals. The more I am able to learn about you, your family and your wishes, the better I can assist you in your estate planning.
By the end of this consultation, I will let you know the legal documents required for your recommended plan, and the anticipated legal fee. If you wish to proceed with your estate plan, you can sign the retainer agreement and pay the retainer amount to get the process started. You may also take the retainer agreement with should you need time to think, or talk to your family regarding the process.
Depending on the complexity of your plan and your personal desires, additional meetings or conference calls may be necessary to ensure that your estate plan accomplishes your goals.
Step 3 – Drafting
Once you decide to proceed with your estate plan, I will begin drafting the documents. If there are follow up questions, or additional decisions to be made following the initial consultation, I will communicate you regarding these items.
If there are certain tasks which must be done in conjunction with the planning, I will detail these. If you wish to do these tasks yourself, I will provide basic instructions as to how to do these tasks. If you wish for me to do these items for you, I will do so to the extent I am able to and at my hourly rate. Some items may require your signature or presence to complete, but I will do everything I can to make the process as simple as possible for you.
Step 4 – Signing the Documents
Once your plan is drafted, we will schedule a meeting to sign the documents. Typically, this signing meeting will take place at my office and I will provide the witnesses. The signing will usually take place about 3 weeks after your initial meeting, but it could be shorter or longer depending on the simplicity or complexity of your plan.
Step 5 – Executing the Plan
Schromen Law, LLC provides advice and support regarding any action items that need to take place after the documents are signed. You may wish to record your will with the county you reside in, or you may wonder the best steps to take to ensure your health care directive is most effective. Should you have a trust that must be funded, I offer to assist with this process. If you wish to fund the plan without my assistance, I make sure that I have advised you of what is entailed.
Schromen Law, LLC provides as much, or as little, assistance as each client requires. It is my goal to make the estate planning process as streamlined, stress-free, and efficient as possible. Even when it comes to making the hard decisions that come with estate planning, I assist my clients in providing legal analysis of different options and facilitating conversations by asking questions that will help in the decisions-making process.
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.