Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Need to Be Intimidated by Estate Planning

I've heard many reasons why people delay estate planning. Perhaps one of the most common is the feeling that planning one's estate is so overwhelming a task that they don't know where to begin. Between determining heirs at death, deciding distribution timing and amounts, and ensuring the prevention of estate tax liability, among other issues, not to mention lifetime concerns like gifting plans and health care directive questions, the whole task can feel quite daunting. Estate planning does not have to be that way, though. The right advisor will listen to your goals and can usually solve all your concerns, including those you didn't know existed, in a very organized and straight-forward manner.

For my clients, the initial consultation is always free and generally lasts about an hour. During that meeting we discuss my clients' purposes for meeting with me and establish their goals. Then I get all the information I need from them and provide guidance for some of the more difficult decisions like guardians for their minor children and trustees for their trust. By the end, I have all the information I need to move forward. I quote a price on the spot and either receive the go ahead then or after the client has had a chance to think it over.

Over the next week to ten days I draft the documents. That will usually include acquiring pertinent data, helping my clients rethink some of their decisions and contacting their advisors for important information. When they return for the signing appointment, we review the finished product and almost always make changes then. When they are completely satisfied with the result, I facilitate the signing. This meeting also lasts about an hour.

The total time investment between the two meetings is about two hours with some time in between to reconsider some decisions. At the end, the estate plan is done and all the lingering doubts are laid to rest. My clients are always pleased about how easy the process can be.

As with most things, the task is only as onerous as you make it. Call me and let's get it done.

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