The Estate Planning Process

estate planning processYou want to make sure that your loved ones are protected by a proper estate plan. To ensure that you will not only have a plan that will stand the test of time for both you and your family but to also make sure that we can quickly and efficiently deliver this plan to you, we have created an estate planning process to make this vision a reality.

Read more about how our estate planning law firm was born and how we are different than other law firms in Cary.

An estate planning process is necessary for several reasons. First and foremost, we believe that having a signed estate plan, even if not perfect, is better than no estate plan at all. Many attorneys will delay a signing meeting until a proposed estate plan is perfect in every aspect. We would rather that you have a plan in place, as quickly as possible. But understanding that not every plan is perfect when you sign it, we will allow our clients 90 days post-signing to make any changes to their plan without incurring any additional legal fees.

Other estate planning lawyers let their clients go months without finalizing their estate plans. They send out draft documents and leave it up to the client to decide if and when they are ready to sign those documents and finalize the plan.

Our Estate Planning Process

We understand that you won’t feel at ease until your plan is finished. That’s why we have put together this process so that you and your family will have a signed estate plan in place as quickly as possible.

The estate planning process takes, on average, 12-15 weeks to complete over the course of at least three separate meetings with our office. These meetings include:

  1. The Initial Wealth Planning Session and Design Meeting
  2. The Signing Meeting
  3. The Delivery Meeting

Here is a quick rundown of what each of these meetings entails.

Initial Wealth Planning Session and Design Meeting

After you initially call our office, we will schedule an initial Wealth Planning Session with you. Between the first time you speak with us and the Wealth Planning Session, we will send you a packet of information in a priority mail envelope.

Included in this mailing will be information about our firm, how we work, directions to our office, and a Client Information and Asset Inventory Questionnaire. We ask that you return the completed questionnaire to our office at least 72 hours prior to your Wealth Planning Session so that we can tailor the meeting to your individual situation.

During the initial Wealth Planning Session, we will talk to you about your goals and what you want for your family. We will also systematically walk you through exactly what would happen to your financial assets and your children in the event that something happened to you.

If you don’t like the outcome we discuss if you maintained the status quo, then we will go through different planning options to find a scenario that you would agree with.

If we both determine that there is a good fit between you and our firm, then we will agree on a fee for your plan (we offer three levels of planning depending on your needs and budget), and begin the process of designing your plan that same day.

As we transition to the design phase of the planning session, we will be focusing on your goals and your vision for your family wealth. We will go into great detail about how you would want your assets divided and managed, as well as what you want your legacy to be for your family.

If you have minor children at home, we will discuss who your temporary and permanent guardians should be.

We realize this sounds like a lot of “heavy” stuff, and in part that is because it is. These are difficult questions, and most people, if left alone, would never consider them. But with our help and guidance, you will feel more confident and assured after this initial meeting than you ever have before about the safety and long-term well-being of your family.

In general, you should block off approximately 2 hours at our office to conduct the initial Wealth Planning Session.

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The Signing Meeting

At the conclusion of the initial Wealth Planning Session, we will schedule a signing meeting for approximately 3-4 weeks later. During this meeting, we will start by reviewing all of your estate planning documents with you to ensure that they meet your needs and address all of your goals. We will then have you sign all of your estate planning documents and make sure that they are all properly witnessed and notarized.

We will provide you with special ID cards for your wallet or purse. If you chose one of our trust plans, we will provide you with a funding toolkit with instructions on how to ensure that your assets are properly transferred into your trust. We will review your preliminary asset spreadsheet with you and provide you with our recommendations regarding how to properly title and fund your plan.

We will also provide you with your completed Kids Emergency Action Plan (KEAP™ Your Kids Safe Plan) if you have minor children, a list of questions for your Legacy Conversation, and preliminary information about our membership plans.

At the conclusion of this meeting, which typically lasts 1-2 hours, we will schedule a final estate plan delivery meeting.

The Delivery Meeting

estate planning processAt this meeting, we will deliver your final estate planning documents to you and address additional needs regarding the funding of your trust (if applicable).

We will then proceed with your complimentary Legacy Conversation, which will be burned to disc and mailed to you after this meeting.

At the conclusion of this meeting, which typically lasts about an hour, we will go over our affordable membership options with you.

An Ongoing Relationship

Finishing your estate plan is just the beginning of your relationship with our firm. We will continue to stay in touch with you through weekly educational emails and our monthly newsletter.

If you elect to join our continuity program, we will review you plan annually to address any life changes that may affect your plan, update your beneficiary designations, make changes to your plan as necessary, and much more. We also offer a number of educational programs and workshops, as well as and other client appreciation events for members of our ongoing maintenance programs.

Next Steps

Interested in learning more? Feel free to reach out to us at (919) 883-4861 or fill out our contact form to schedule a Wealth Planning Session today!

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