Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a charge for an intial meeting?
We do not charge to sit down with you and find out about your family, your unique situation, what you own, and what you want to accomplish. At the end of your meeting, you will have learned a lot, you will have a general estate plan design, and we will put in writing the investment required. At that point, it is up to you whether you want to continue.
How long will the initial meeting last?
Typically from 1 to 1½ hours. Please make sure you have at least that amount of time to devote to our meeting.
What should I bring to the initial meeting?
We are committing our time and resources to meet with you at no charge. In return, here are the three things we need for your first meeting:
1) Your questionnaire, completed to the best of your ability
2) Your prior will and trust, if any
3) Each party necessary to make a decision (including both spouses, if married).
What is the process to determine what's right for me?
Designing your plan is like planning a vacation. Together, we look at your options; and consider what you absolutely need and what you really ought to add. Once we have determined your 'itinerary', we will quote you the precise investment needed to make it happen. At that point, it is up to you whether you want to continue.
What are your fees?
You can’t price a vacation until you know where you are going, and we cannot tell you in advance what your investment will be. But, we think it fair that you know the ‘ball park’ before you come in. So what we can tell you is that it is very unusual in our practice for a family to spend more than $4500 for a comprehensive plan, including a revocable trust which can prevent probate, and protect you if you can’t care for yourself (or your loved ones) during your lifetime. Most often, the investment is significantly less, in the $2500 (single person) to $3500 (married couple) range. Our goal is a fee arrangement, which we commit to in advance, that will have no surprises or disappointments for either of us.
What do I get for my money? Why not use the internet?
While you likely think of estate plans as a list of documents, that is really the least of what we are providing. You are choosing a counselor who will design a plan that you must live with after your incapacity, and your beneficiaries must live with after you are gone. Your loved ones will depend on what we do now, and they will depend on it during difficult times. This is your opportunity to get it right.
That said, of course you want something concrete to show for your investment. Our comprehensive set of documents include your trust and various assignments of property into your trust, your will, a certificate of trust, financial powers of attorney, and health care documents including a HIPAA release, health care directive, and living will. You’ll receive electronic versions of your signed documents and you won’t pay any separate notary fees. There is no charge for your post-signing questions, and you can contact us for a free update consult as often as you like. Finally, those who need to implement your plan will need guidance. We do not charge to meet with your successor trustee to review their responsibilities after your signing if you would like, and after they begin to serve.
What happens next?
At our first appointment, we set a signing appointment, about 4 weeks out. We start to work on your plan, using email and phone calls if we have questions during the drafting stage. Then, we send you a summary of your trust which is usually about 8-10 pages, plus various other documents, all of which we ask you to carefully review to make sure your wishes are being met. If you would like to review the entire trust, we are happy to send that to you before your signing appointment. Then, you come back in and review and sign the final documents. This final appointment takes one to two hours. You will meet with your attorney, not a staff member. You will leave the appointment with your original binder, and we will send your electronic copy to you and to anyone else you choose.