For New Clients
Preparing for Your Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is intended to provide all members of the estate planning team with the opportunity to meet together to discuss the benefits of
planning and the available options. At the conclusion of this meeting, we will make a recommendation about your planning needs and quote a flat fee for design, implementing and
strategically-funding the proposed plan.
We have found that our initial consultation is more productive if you complete a short questionnaire designed to help focus your thoughts on the planning
process, and a personal survey to help us gather important facts. Please take the time to review these documents and bring them with you to your appointment. It is not necessary that the
worksheets be completed in entirety before the meeting, but we do ask that you bring them with you to the consultation. [Note: For your convenience, we have made available for download our
client questionnaires. They are located at the bottom of this page.]
If you need to reschedule your appointment, please contact us immediately so that we may rearrange our schedule and perhaps make an appointment more convenient
for another client.
There is no need to go on a "treasure hunt" at this point for financial or legal documents, stock certificates or insurance policies. Sometimes we find clients
procrastinate in getting their planning done because they cannot locate, or do not have time to locate, all of these documents. Truthfully, these documents will not be needed until we
begin the funding process ... which is one of the last steps in the process! Instead, spend the time before your appointment contemplating the Three P's of Estate Planning.
We ensure that your plan is followed through and that it works throughout your life. We offer a free review of your estate plan every three years – this is the
maximum amount of time that should pass between reviews. Things change: the laws change, your financial affairs change and the people you care about change. If you are interested in
ensuring that the estate plan always work, we also offer unique membership programs to ensure that your plan works year in and year out and that you have access to your trusted team of
legal advisors for guidance on any legal or financial matter
Understanding the Three P's of Estate Planning
#1 — People
Who are the Important People in your life?
Beginning with yourself, they also likely include your loved ones: your spouse if you are married, children and grandchildren if you have any, perhaps your parents, siblings
or other relatives. Beyond these, however, "Important People" also could include charities, special causes, colleges or universities, or churches to which you are committed. For some,
"Important People" could even include pets. Spend some time thinking about the impact others have had on your life. Make a list and jot notes if you like. This is where the planning
process truly begins.
#2 — Property
By Property we mean your assets in general.
Make a list of the assets you own or control. At this point, you do not need to identify insurance policy numbers and exact dollar values. Rather think through your assets in
terms of their nature (cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.); their value in thousands of dollars; and your ownership interest: Do you own assets in your name only, in joint tenancy
with someone else, or through a trust agreement or some other arrangement? Be sure to include often-overlooked assets like life insurance (the death benefit, not the cash value),
business interests, and any inheritance you may expect to receive.
After identifying the Important People in your life and your Property, the next step is to consider the plans you would make for those people (including yourself) and that
Property in the event of your own incapacity or death.
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do so yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal and health care decisions? Who
would care for your minor children? How would you distribute your assets to your heirs? would you prefer to spare your heirs the cost and hassles of the probate process? Would you like
to minimize the impact of estate taxes ... or maximize the impact of a charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special needs for whom you would like to provide? Is there
someone who perhaps should not receive a great deal of money without some outside oversight?
These are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning process. They are much more important than the "treasure hunt" for legal documents
at this stage.
Estate Planning Questionnaires
The following files are available in PDF format which requires the free Adobe®
Reader® for downloading.