We have developed our planning process in response to the weakness of traditional lawyer – provided estate planning, which focused on documents, but fails to align asset titles and beneficiary designations with those documents, and afterward relies on the client to know when it’s time to call the lawyer and “update” the estate plan. This rarely works, except to guarantee more confusion, delay, conflict and legal work after your death or disability. Here’s how we do it differently:
Preparation – Step 1
Before you come see us, we ask you to provide detailed and complete asset and income information. By settling dozens of estates over the years, we’ve come to believe that the typical estate planning process – focused on documents like wills and trusts – is backwards.
Most assets are not controlled by the Will or Trust in the first instance – where they go upon your death is determined by how they are owned (titled) or a “beneficiary designation.” We need to see exactly how each asset is titled today so we can tell you what would happen to it in the event of your death or incapacity.
Asset Alignment – Step 2
We analyze your assets, income, and stated goals before we meet, to develop preliminary recommendations and questions. Our initial meeting is an opportunity for you to clarify your goals and get your questions answered.
At the end of our meeting, I will propose a plan for you, in writing, with a fixed price. Your financial advisor or other trusted counselor is welcome to attend this meeting.
When you’ve agreed to hire our office, we take a deeper dive into your asset titling together and design an estate plan – usually incorporating legal documents like Wills, Trusts, and LLC agreements – that has the highest chance of meeting your stated objectives.
After signing your Estate Plan documents, we obtain or prepare beneficiary designation and other forms necessary to align your assets with your plan, deliver them to the various custodians of your assets, and verify that titles have been changed per our instructions.
Continuing Relationship – Step 3
We meet again to deliver your plan documents to you and show you that each asset has been aligned with your plan. This meeting begins a yearlong relationship with our office during which you can make changes to your plan documents, and you and your advisor can consult with me and my staff by phone and email – and you will not be billed.
The price for the first year is included in your initial plan fee. If at the end of the year you feel the value is less that the price, you can simply choose not to renew our relationship.