For most people, the estate planning process is neither complicated nor time-consuming. The more complex your financial or family situation is, the more time the process will take from beginning to end.
Prior to the first meeting, it is desirable, but not necessary that a prospective client fills out a basic information form. The additional information form is helpful. but can be completed as our first meeting progresses. It is important for a client to understand that simple family and financial information is all that is required to begin the estate planning process.
On average, the married couple or single individual with children will spend about one to two hours in an initial consultation to discuss their needs and the possible solutions to their situation. Then, most clients go home with a list of three to ten items to discuss and send additional information or decisions back to us.
Once that information has been communicated to our office (usually by e-mail or phone) the drafting process begins.
Within a week to ten days, we will schedule a second appointment with the client to review the documents and to sign them. In the interim, you may have one or more e-mail exchanges or conversations to clarify issues that have been raised.
While I am willing and able to deliver drafts of documents to clients before the second meeting, I find that the documents can be confusing or overwhelming without some guidance. For most clients, it is easier for them to return for the second meeting where they will receive a “guided tour” through their documents and the follow-up tasks that they should take care of. This second meeting to review and sign documents can take between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the questions and issues raised.
At the second meeting, you will receive originals of all of your documents as well as an instruction letter describing what you need to do to implement the final stages of the plan. This will be the road map to ensuring that your family can deal with death or disability without undue complications.
Most clients tell us that the process is far easier than they thought. And the cost is not much more than new drapes for your living room and dining room. The majority of estate plans cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
Please call us for an appointment to see how easy planning your estate can be. It will be the best gift you can ever give to your family.