OUR PROCESS

We look forward to working with you! We know clients often like to know what to expect before they contact us.  Below you will find an overview of the estate planning process and the probate processes.  We hope you find this information helpful.

 

 

ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS.

The steps clients can usually expect when working with us to develop an estate plan are set out below.  However, because we recognize that every client is different, these steps may vary slightly.

Initial Phone Call.

We want our clients to be at ease from the first phone call.  During the initial phone call, we will gather a little bit of information about you and the services you might need. In addition, we will answer questions you have about us, our services, and our process, so you can feel confident we are a good match for the services you need.  Our goal to is to make sure we answer your initial questions and set you at ease about how we work with our clients.  We look forward to talking with you!

Initial Meeting.

Our goal is to treat each client as we would hope to be treated. With that goal in mind, we will welcome you to our office and set you at ease. This meeting is a time for us to listen and . . .

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learn about you, your family, your goals, and values. In addition, we will want to know if there is a particular event or concern that prompted your decision to move forward with estate planning. The more we learn, the greater insight we have so we may tailor a plan to your particular needs.  Thus, during this meeting we will learn about your assets, property ownership, family members, those you would like to act on your behalf about medical and financial decision-making, if you are unable to do so, and your specific wishes regarding your estate.  

We know clear communication is the key to serving our clients well.  We will explain our process and the services we recommend, including the cost of those services. For estate planning, we charge a flat fee because we find our clients prefer to know the expected costs up front.  We will also explain the law and how it influences our recommendations. In addition, we will answer any questions you might have.  The initial meeting provides the foundation for our client relationship.

Second Meeting.

During the second meeting, we will go over draft estate planning documents, explain what each does and the specific effect of each.  We will answer any questions you have about the plan and make sure you have a solid understanding of what the plan accomplishes.  We want you to have peace of mind that the plan represents your wishes, values, and goals.

The Signing Ceremony.

Once we finalize your estate plan, we schedule a meeting were you will sign the documents. The signing ceremony usually takes place within three to four weeks of our initial meeting. At this meeting, we will go over all the documents, answer any questions you have, and complete the signing.  After you have signed the documents, we will put together a packet for you that includes the original documents and a letter that provides an overview of your plan.  We ask our clients to pay in full as we wrap up our services.

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PROBATE ADMINISTRATION.

Every probate differs because every estate has a unique characteristics due to the size and make-up of the family and property. However, the steps below are those you can generally expect in the process.  Probate involves specific legal steps and processes, through which we guide our clients. The process typically takes about 9 months, that it can be shorter or longer depending on the issues that arise with the particular estate.

Initial Phone Call.

We want our clients to be at ease from the first phone call.  We know that if you are calling about handling a loved one’s estate that you very likely are grieving a loss while facing the responsibilities associated with handling the estate.  During the initial phone call, we will gather a bit of information about you and your loved one so we can determine the services you might need. We will want to know whether your loved one had a will. In addition, we will answer questions you have about us, our services, and the probate process, so you can feel confident we are a good match for the services you need.  Our goal to is to make sure we answer your initial questions and set you at ease as you take on this responsibility.  We look forward to talking with you.

Initial Meeting.

At the first meeting, we will welcome you to our office. This initial meeting provides an opportunity to gather information, take a look at any documents you might bring–such as a will, death certificate, bank statements, and property records. We will explain the probate process and . . .

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provide an overview of the responsibilities you will have as the representative for the estate.  We want you to have a clear understanding of what to expect, what you will need to take care of, and how we will work with you to carry out your duties and responsibilities.  We will also discuss the fees you might expect for our services and explain that fees are paid from the estate and only upon approval by the court.  Because every probate differs significantly, we handle probate matters by the hour.

Following the initial meeting, if you decide to have us represent you, we will send you an engagement letter that sets out the nature of our representation and our fees.  We will also provide you a checklist of responsibilities and tasks that you will need to complete.  Some of these tasks will need to be completed right away while others will be completed later in the probate process.  We will make clear what is expected and when it is expected.  Of course, if you ever have questions, we are here to answer them so you have peace of mind that you are carrying out your duties as expected.

Subsequent Meetings and Communications.

We will need to continue to communicate with each other throughout the probate process.  Thus, at the initial meeting, we will discuss your preferred means of communication and how frequently you might expect to hear from us.  The key to a smooth probate administration is clear and effective communication and timely completing each required step and responsibility in the process.

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