kflg-estate-planning-portfolioA comprehensive basic estate plan includes a revocable living trust, pour-over will (a special type of will that is connected to your trust), certification of trust, power of attorney for property, power of attorney for healthcare, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) medical records authorization, Living Will, deed (transferring your home to your trust), and an “owners manual” regarding how the trust operates.

Depending on the size and complexity of the estate or a specific beneficiary’s needs, different types of trusts or entities may be necessary as part of the estate plan.   After an initial meeting with the attorneys at the Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group, we will be able to advise if a basic estate plan is right for your family or if more advanced planning is necessary which may include a special needs trust (SNT), an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT), a charitable remainder trust (CRT), a charitable lead trust (CLT), a qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT), a grantor retained income trust (GRIT), a limited liability company (LLC), series limited liability company, c corporation, s corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship.

The attorneys at the Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group will be able to explain how each estate planning tool works and the function it has.  We make sure that the estate plan you have is appropriate for you, you have an understanding of how it works, and are comfortable with what it achieves.

This question is as difficult to answer as the question “how much does a car cost”?  Depending on the type of estate planning that is done, the complexity, your net worth, and types of assets, the cost of an estate plan can vary (just as the cost of a car can vary depending on the type, model, the options, etc.).  Without first meeting with a client and learning about what is important to them and reviewing their assets, it is almost impossible to answer that question. The estate plans that the Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group design and implement are custom designed for each individual client.  During the initial consultation, once the attorney has a clear picture of what the plan will be, the attorney will use our fee schedule and tell you the price it will cost to complete your estate plan.

We often hear that another attorney quoted much less than we did or that the client can just go online and download forms.  The most important thing to remember is that not all living trusts are created equally.  The only time you will know if your trust does not work the way it is supposed to, is often too late.  Using the car analogy again, a defective or poorly written trust is like having a car with defective air-bags. If they don’t work when you need them to, it is too late.  At the Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group, we have prepared nearly 6000 trusts and have administered over 850 trusts, so we know our trusts work as they are intended.

The right attorney to do your estate planning is an attorney who limits their practice to estate planning.  The Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group has practiced solely estate planning for over 29 years.  In addition to finding an attorney who has extensive estate planning experience, it is extremely important that your attorney remains current on new estate planning techniques, changes in tax law, and important decisions on new trust and tax law court cases. It is also important that you feel comfortable with the attorney you are working with.

Your attorney should be a good listener, easy to talk with, and willing to answer all of your questions in a clear and simple to understand manner.  Estate planning is a very personal process.  It is imperative that you are able to openly share your personal and financial situation with the attorney in a comfortable, non-judgmental atmosphere.   Both Bruce Kiselstein and Lenore D. Franckowiak are experts at putting clients at ease and are often told after the estate plan is competed, that the whole process was much easier and more enjoyable then the client anticipated.

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 new client information questionnaire, and some of our special reports to introduce you to estate planning concepts.

The client information questionnaire 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 benefit from it as is 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 re-written.  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 will discuss fee options and present planning options, so you can make the best 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 that 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 a time to sign all of the estate planning documents.  The signing meeting is usually three weeks after your initial meeting.  The signing meeting takes about two hours.  At the signing meeting, we will review 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 meeting to review your plan.  At the meeting we review your estate planning documents, discuss any changes to your family or financial situation, 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.

Contact our office and schedule an appointment.  We will send you a confirmation letter outlining the information you must bring to our meeting and explaining what you can expect while working with our firm during the estate closing and distribution phase (called the “administration”).  If the deceased person was a client of ours, you should locate their estate planning binder and the Trustee’s Manual.  The Trustee’s Manual will provide valuable step by step instructions explaining how to administer an estate or trust after someone has died.

To make our initial meeting as efficient and productive as possible, please bring all financial information and documentation regarding all of the deceased person’s assets.  If the deceased person was not a client of Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group, please bring all estate planning documents (if any) they executed during their lifetime (a Will or a Revocable Living Trust).

Depending on various factors (the size of the estate, the types of assets owned by the individual or the individual’s trust, the distribution provisions contained in the Trust(s), the family dynamics, applicable estate and income tax regulations), the administration of the Trust or estate can often be complicated.  Once we have reviewed the information that is provided regarding the estate plan (if any) and the assets, we will then be in a position to advise you what our fees would be to assist you in the administration process, how you will be billed, and give you a general idea regarding how long the administration will take.

 It is important to remember that there is rarely anything that must be done immediately upon a loved one’s passing. No assets can be transferred before a death certificate is issued.   We suggest that you wait to schedule the appointment after you obtain a death certificate.