WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH OUR FIRM

We understand that the estate planning process can be intimidating, daunting, and a difficult task to start.  We will guide you through the estate planning process and together we will design a customized, comprehensive plan that is consistent with your values.  We explain all aspects of your estate plan to you so that you will have a fundamental understanding about how each part of the plan functions. We will answer all of your questions so you are comfortable with the plan and confident it achieves all of your estate planning objectives.

The first step in the planning process is to contact our office to make an initial appointment.  Our friendly staff will schedule a time for you to meet with one of our attorneys.  Once the appointment is made, we will send you a confirmation letter, a client information questionnaire, and some of our special reports to introduce you to estate planning concepts.

The client information questionnaire is a worksheet that will  help you start the information gathering process. We ask that you fill out the worksheet as best as you can and bring it with you to your initial meeting. The initial meeting is a working meeting, and we want you to get as much out of it as possible.  If you have any questions while completing the questionnaire, do not hesitate to contact us, we are happy to help you.

At your initial meeting with either attorney Bruce Kiselstein or Lenore D. Franckowiak, we will gather information about your family, goals, and objectives so we know what is most important to you. If you already have some type of estate planning documents, we will review them for you and explain how they work and determine if they need to be updated or redone.  Once we learn about your family and review your assets, we can determine what type of estate plan would work best for your family.   We discuss fee ranges and present planning options with you so you can make a good decision for your family. You will know exactly what your planning fee will be before you decide to retain us as your attorneys.

Once you have decided that you would like to move forward with the estate plan we recommend, we will work with you to design your plan. Generally we can design your plan during our initial meeting,  however, there may be one or more meetings involved in the design phase of your planning. At the end of the initial meeting, we schedule another meeting to review and sign all of the estate planning documents.  The signing meeting is about three weeks after your initial meeting.  The signing meeting takes about two hours.  At the signing meeting, we will go over everything with you, explain all documents, provide trust funding instructions, and answer all of your questions.

Once your plan is completed, if you chose to be enrolled in our maintenance program, we will contact you every three years to schedule a no charge thirty minute “check-up”  meeting to review your plan.  At your “check-up” meetings, we review your estate planning documents, discuss any changes to your family or financial situation or any changes in the law that effect your plan, and review the titles and beneficiary designations of your assets to make sure your trust is properly funded.  Our maintenance program is designed to make sure your plan will work as intended, giving you the peace of mind that comes with proper estate planning.

It has been a pleasure working with you in the restatement of our Living Trusts. We feel that we now have documents that are up-to-date, with important provisions relating to changes in health-care law and of course, avoiding what would have been substantial tax consequences with our previous Living Trust.

Your manual “To My Trustees” will be invaluable in guiding our successor trustees. We had been searching libraries and the internet for something similar, but nothing even approaches it for clear language and detailed guidance. Very comforting to anyone trying to develop and implement a “to do” list during trying times…Thanks for your time and effort and for work well done! dave