I am ready to schedule an initial consultation and get started. What next? (If you have a current estate plan and want it to have a “full physical exam” review, then see Step 5 below.)
While on our website, click on either the “Request a Consultation” option or the “Get Started Now” option. After you watch a short video (1:42 minute) explaining “Our Process” and then provide your basic contact information, then we will send two required online e-Documents via separate emails for you to complete and submit at least one calendar week before we meet: the Estate Planning Issues and the Confidential Client Questionnaire.
Just as each of our clients is unique, so is each of the estate plans we create. What is “essential” for one client may be “irrelevant” for your circumstances, and vice versa.
The first email will link to the Estate Planning Issues and its purpose is two-fold: 1) to provide us with an initial snapshot of your unique estate planning priorities; and 2) to provide you with an easy-to-understand estate planning tutorial before we meet. In fact, after you complete the Estate Planning Issues, you will have a better grasp of estate planning than 95% of attorneys.
Once you submit your Estate Planning Issues online, then you will receive a second email with a link to the second and final e-Document: the Confidential Client Questionnaire. Please complete and submit this Questionnaire at least one calendar week before your initial consultation.
The purpose of this Questionnaire is also two-fold: 1) to help you think through and evaluate your important 3 Ps; and 2) to provide us with the initial snapshot of the 3 Ps relevant to your estate plan (i.e., the important People, Property and Plans) prior to our meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: If I start one of the e-Documents, but need to stop, can I finish it later?
A: No need to start over. Simply pick up right where you left off.
Q: What online interface will I be using to complete and submit the e-Documents? Will my information be safe?
A: We selected Cognito Forms because your answers are kept confidential and secure when entered and submitted.
Before we meet I carefully study your answers on both of the online e-Documents, so I’m better prepared to help you.
When you arrive at our office/home, Gretchen and I will welcome you at our front door and offer you coffee, tea, a soft drink or good old filtered water. After you and I are comfortably settled into our conference room, I’ll explain that the experience is intended to be educational and that all questions are welcome at any time during our conversation. Why? Because you and I are on a journey together to find estate planning peace of mind for you and your loved ones. You and I are partners in that quest and I know how to help you get there safely. In fact, since 1985 I have helped more than 2,500 clients find Estate Planning Peace of Mind. But I need your help. That’s why we ask you to complete and submit our e-Documents in advance. We want to measure twice and cut once so we don’t miss any of the essential details that are important to you.
I’ll be able to diagnose your situation after you’ve fully educated me about your important people, your property, and your plans. If I think we can be of help, then I’ll provide a range of appropriate “treatment” options and associated pricing for your consideration. If you want to move forward, then we’ll sign a standard engagement agreement and schedule the time and date to sign your custom estate plan … usually within a few weeks. We then receive half of the agreed price to begin preparing the estate plan and the balance when the plan is signed. On the other hand, if you want to think about it, then take all the time you need. There’s never any pressure from us to become a member of our “client” family.
For starters, we believe our clients are grownups and will let us know if changes are needed … if we just stay in touch. So, how do we stay in touch? Well, we have been sending a monthly estate planning newsletter to our clients since 1995. Then, every two years in October of odd-numbered years, we send out a review reminder letter to each of our clients by first class mail. That letter has a response portion for clients to complete and return to us in the conveniently enclosed return envelope. The purpose of all this regularly client communication is to keep in touch. That way if a change occurs regarding your important people or property, then you’re more likely to contact me so we can tweak your estate plan as needed. As you can see, we’ll go to great lengths to stay in touch with you after you become a member of our “client” family.
Change is one of the only “certainties” in life and some of those changes can impact one’s estate plan. The price of an estate plan review is $350, whether we prepared the estate plan or you are bringing a plan prepared elsewhere. Why? By analogy our estate plan review process is like a having a “full physical exam” of your current plan. In that spirit, just like before my own annual full physical with Dr. Michael Monaco, you will have some “tests” to complete and submit at least one calendar week before the consultation to discuss the results. For my annual physical these tests include an EKG, blood draw, blood flow ultrasound, pulmonary function test, and a urinalysis. For your estate plan review you will be asked to complete the same two required online e-Documents described above in Step 1 for an initial consultation, plus a third e-Document titled Estate Plan Review Questions. Some of these Estate Plan Review Questions will be eye-opening and touch on matters you might not have considered. As you read each question, simply click the appropriate responses: yes, no, uncertain or not applicable. Also, if I do not have them already, I will need a copy of your current estate plan and any amendments. You may scan and email them, mail them via USPs, copy and deliver them, etc. Regardless how they are delivered, I will need your current estate plan documents one calendar week before we meet. If any changes need to be made to your estate plan, then those changes will be billed separately at a flat price quoted in advance.
The “secret sauce” behind a successful estate plan is how well you organize and communicate the information your loved ones will need to know when they need to know it. [Hint: You will not be around when their need to know becomes relevant.] Download these three essential organizing tools:
Complete and share them with your loved ones without delay, or at least make sure they know where to find them when needed.