The Estate Planning Process
The process of creating and implementing your estate plan will be a joint process between yourself, Agnew Law Office, and any financial or investment advisors that you may work with. In order to give you a brief overview of this process, the following is a summary setting forth the general steps that will be required to design and complete your individual estate plan.
Prior to your initial meeting, you will be provided with information sheets requesting basic Personal and Financial information (included in this packet). As the instructions to those sheets indicate, we ask that you complete those information sheets and return them to Agnew Law Office prior to your initial meeting with the Attorney. This information will provide the Attorney with the basic information needed to determine the scope of your initial meeting.
At your initial meeting we will discuss the options, decisions and choices you will have to make in order to design your personalized estate plan. Your participation in the process is central to the philosophy of Agnew Law Office, which is the creation of a personal and customized estate plan intended to meet your specific and individual needs. During this meeting, specific planning options will be presented to you in a logical and orderly manner. Financial advisor attendance at this meeting is encouraged. Some of the topics that will be reviewed at your initial meeting will include:
Whether to implement a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Trust as your primary estate planning document.
Your potential estate tax liability and the steps required (if any) to reduce or eliminate that potential liability.
The choices you have involving Powers of Attorney for Property, Powers of Attorney for Health Care, and Living Wills.
The individuals and/or entities you will want to name in the various administrative capacities (i.e. Executor, Trustee, Guardian, and Power of Attorney).
The instructions you will want to leave regarding the disbursement of your assets. This will require you to make decisions about who your beneficiaries will be, how much they will receive, and over what period of time they will receive their inheritance.
Whether or not you will want to make any specific distributions of personal effects (such as jewelry, collections and household items).
At this meeting, Agnew Law Office will also quote you a flat fee for the design and implementation of the estate plan you desire. If you are potentially interested in different projects, Agnew Law Office will provide you with a flat fee for each individual project, as well as a projection of the potential tax and administrative savings to be realized by you and/or your heirs under each separate project.
After your initial meeting, you will be provided with a Plan Design Information sheet. That sheet will set forth the decisions you must make to determine the specific documents you will want prepared to create your estate plan, as well as the specific instructions to be included in those documents. After you have had an opportunity to digest this information, you may then complete the Plan Design Information sheet and return that sheet to Agnew Law Office. That sheet will then be the basis for the preparation of your draft estate planning documents (see below).
Document Drafting & Preparation
Once Agnew Law Office has received your completed Plan Design Information sheet, our Attorneys will prepare the estate planning documents that will be required to create your desired estate plan in a draft format. The draft documents will then be forwarded to you for your review. However, each document will be accompanied by a comprehensive and understandable summary in plain English, without the technical-legal language that is required in the actual documents.
Review and Execution
After you have received your draft estate planning documents and have had an opportunity to review them, any changes that you desire can be made to any of the documents. Once the documents are in satisfactory form, you will typically call to schedule a 2nd meeting. At that meeting we will go over each document, page by page, to make sure you are comfortable with the terminology of each document and that the instructions set forth in each document are in accordance with your specific directions and desires. We then will proceed to execute each of your estate planning documents at that meeting.
The final step in the process of implementing your estate plan will involve the retitling of assets to fund any trusts you may desire to create, and to modify beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts to direct the “flow” of assets through your trust or will. This portion of the process will generally require the joint efforts of you, Agnew Law Office, and your investment and/or financial advisors. A checklist outlining the specific steps to be taken will be provided to you by Agnew Law Office upon the execution of your estate planning documents.