The Initial Estate Planning Consultation
Thinking about what will happen after you are gone is important. Because estate planning is far too serious to be conducted over the phone or via email, we like to schedule our estate planning consultations with you in person. We promise to keep it as easy as possible.
Initial consultations typically last about 90 minutes. At the initial estate planning consultation, we will review the information you’ve provided us on your estate planning questionnaire to make sure we understand your goals and objectives, as well as your family and financial circumstances, and we will address any special concerns you have. We will design a custom estate plan for how to proceed and then provide you with a fixed fee quote for your basic estate planning documents.
The Fixed Fee Estate Planning Process
If at the conclusion of the initial consultation you decide to hire our law firm, we will provide you with a retainer agreement to review and sign. We ask that you provide us with a credit card authorization at that time.
For basic estate planning documents, we will collect the fixed fee in three portions. First, 20% of the total fee will be charged to you after the initial estate planning consultation. 60% of the estate planning fee will be billed when we deliver draft estate planning documents to you, and the final balance of 20% of the total of the estate planning fee will be collected once we have delivered an electronic or printed file containing your executed estate plan documents.
What’s Included In Estate Planning Legal Fee
The fixed estate planning fee includes preparation of the basic estate planning documents, execution of your estate documents, trust funding instructions, a written summary of the documents, and a detailed written explanation of your estate planning materials. Our clients say our summary documents are crucial to ensuring their understanding of the plan.
Updating Your Estate Plan
We recommend reviewing your estate plan documents every 3-5 years to make sure they are still up to date and meet your estate planning goals and objectives. Our estate plan checkup as we call it takes about 45 minutes and provides you and our legal team time to catch up on things that may have changed since you last met with one of our estate planning attorneys. Birth of a child, a new job, marriage, divorce, death of a loved one in addition to new assets and changes in the law are just of the few topics that are usually covered during our estate planning checkups. Remember, a careful review of beneficiaries, fiduciaries, and assets is critical to make sure that your estate plan functions the way you expect. Updates to your estate plan are done on a flat fee basis at the time of the update.
The premarital agreement process is similar to the estate planning process. You will be asked to complete a client questionnaire and attend an in-person initial meeting. We will draft the agreement for a fixed fee (or review the agreement drafted by your fiancé’s attorney), but our negotiation of the agreement with the attorney representing your fiancé will be charged at our normal hourly rates.
For estate administration, we will provide you with a list of items that are needed for us to administer the estate. If you prefer, we can visit the decedent’s home with you to collect all of the needed information. Once we have determined the scope of the project, we will charge either a fixed percentage of the estate assets or our hourly rates, depending on the circumstances.
Whether you are serving as a trustee of a trust for a friend or relative or we have agreed to serve in that role for you, we can prepare annual accountings for the trust and deliver them to the beneficiaries or their representatives. The accountings help limit the trustee’s exposure to fiduciary liability.
We will also meet with the trustees, investment advisors and accountants for the trust at least once a year to help ensure the trust is being administered in accordance with the trust instrument and as required by state law. These services are typically performed on an hourly basis and charged to the trust.
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