Protecting Your Loved OnesPreserving Your Assets
A series of actions or events performed to make something or achieve a particular result, or a series of changes that happen naturally.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
- Amelia Earhart
Our Forward Development Process (FDP) is designed to make the endeavor of creating or modifying your estate plan more positive, productive, and ultimately a celebration of all that you have accomplished and are passing on to your loved ones. It starts with a simple conversation about your circumstances, goals, concerns, even fears about what the future holds. From the initial consultation, you will know what to expect, when to expect it, and what it will cost - no surprises.
Our experience tells us that many people put off estate planning for several reasons, including:
- Lack of knowledge / intimidated by the process
- Uneasiness with considering their own mortality
- Confusion about the subject / “Self-Help” Resources
- Belief that they are not wealthy, or have anything to protect
- Or just plain getting stuck in neutral on the issue
Our FDP is defined by a series of steps to complete the assignment together on mutually agreed-upon action items, deliverables and time-tables. For example, when working with clients on an estate plan founded upon a Revocable Living Trust, our process incorporates the following six simple steps, typically over a 3 to 5 week time period:
- Step 1 – Initial Consultation: It begins with a no-obligation consultation – a simple conversation about your family, objectives, and options. The attorney makes recommendations and, as with most clients, if the decision at that time is to go forward then a design interview is completed. The clients take home a questionnaire – homework – to complete with requested documents to return. Our staff immediately begins building the clients’ estate plan with our state-of-the-art document drafting software.
- Step 2 – Return Questionnaire: The client returns the completed homework by the agreed-upon date.
- Step 3 – Phone Call: Our office contacts the clients to verify information if there is any question or to “fill in the gaps” where something was left unanswered during the design interview. This also serves a reminder of the scheduled appointment.
- Step 4 – Signing Meeting: The custom-tailored estate plan and documents are explained by the professional staff, reviewed by the clients and signed, witnessed and notarized.
- Step 5 – Funding Meeting: A “lifetime asset inventory” is reviewed by staff and the clients, correspondences and legal documents to re-name accounts or re-title assets are signed, and assignments / property agreements are explained and executed. Depending on the type of estate plan, future meetings may be scheduled for the client for additional funding meeting or to discuss advanced estate planning matters, such as Standalone Retirement Plan Trusts, Irrevocable Asset Protection Trusts, or other pressing matters of concern to the clients and, if requested, referrals to other trusted, non-legal professionals.
- Step 6 – Assembly and Delivery of Estate Plan: The office records, files, mails the signed funding documents completed at Step 5. Then, the estate plan and related documents are assembled into the client’s portfolio, reviewed for quality compliance, and scanned. Finally, the clients are notified that their estate plan portfolio is available for pick up at their convenience or mailed/delivered.
Other plans and strategies have similar steps but differ in their specific deliverables and time-tables.
As part of our FDP, we view this as a life-long relationship with each of our clients and encourage regular review meetings every 2 to 3 years – or as circumstances change – to ensure that the all aspects of the estate plan are being addressed and updated on a timely basis.
We also offer a Client Maintenance Program designed to keep your estate plan optimized and running smoothly for you and your successor trustees. For a small annual fee, the program includes annual review meetings, routine amendments and updates, asset inventory updates, and a stipulated number of hours of professional services or telephone conferences.
The Roots of Our Practice
As your attorneys and counselors, we put your interests first - treating you with respect, honesty and dignity.
30 Years of Legal Experience
We offer no-obligation in-person, telephone and video-conference consultations for your convenience.