The Estate Planning Process
The complimentary Discovery Call is designed as a brief chat so someone from the office can explain how the estate planning process works and how we use the Initial Planning Session to move forward. During this ten- or fifteen-minute phone call, we will discuss what to expect in an Initial Planning Session, what sort of information is needed for the Initial Planning Session, and how to get started. Fees are not reviewed until we get a chance to get to know each other in our actual initial session. And we can schedule that Initial Planning Session while we’re on our Discovery Call. You can schedule your Discovery Call here.
Initial Planning Session
Initial Planning Sessions can be held by means of an online meeting or in person at McCreary Law Office. Before the session, the office will send you a link to an online form for you to complete before we meet. During your Initial Planning Session, you will meet with the attorney, Jana McCreary. Through your conversation, Jana will learn as much as she can about you and your family’s needs for estate planning. Her goal is to be your trusted advisor, so you’ll have an in-depth conversation with her about you, your loved ones, and your goals, hopes, and concerns.
During that Initial Planning Session, Jana will also explain what happens under various situations for your estate and provide options for different levels of estate planning. Jana wants you to understand your options and what they mean as well as how your fee changes with the options. You might decide to forgo a formal plan. You might opt for a very basic plan. Or you might decide you want a higher level of protection, especially if you have minor children or a blended family. You’ll have the information that you need to make that decision and to understand the related fees.
The Initial Planning Session is scheduled for one hour, and Jana will provide advice on what plan would best meet your goals. The fee is $150. If we move straight into a basic estate plan, we might extend the time another thirty minutes to discuss your plan in more detail.
Design and Drafting
Depending on the complexity of your plan, you might meet a second time with Jana to discuss the details of the design of your plan. For this, McCreary Law Office will send additional online forms for you to complete regarding details of who you want to be in charge of things, information about your assets, and your healthcare choices.
Signing Your New Plan
McCreary Law Offices conducts signing meetings in two ways. For clients not near McCreary Law Office, Jana will prepare and print your plan and ship to you, carefully tabbed and marked for signing. You and Jana will coordinate a schedule with a notary and two witnesses you arrange for, and Jana will oversee that signing process to make sure everything is in order. After the signing, you'll send the plan back to Jana in a pre-paid envelope so she can double-check that everything is complete. Jana will scan the originals then organize them in a portfolio, sending that to you after about two weeks.
For clients who are nearer one of the office locations, we can schedule your signing in person in the office.* When you come in to sign your plan, Jana will review it with you and highlight key provisions. With the proper witnesses and notary, you or you and your spouse will then formally sign your new estate plan. Your plan will be scanned and organized in a portfolio either for immediate delivery to you (for basic plans) or ready for you to pick up a couple of weeks later.
Once your plan is signed, often there is follow-up that needs to happen. Many clients will need to update beneficiaries for retirement plans and life insurance. Clients who use a trust-based plan will need to retitle assets to fund the trust. The office will provide you with detailed information about what next steps you need to do.
Keeping your new plan updated is an important part of the estate planning process. This means that when you have important life changes such as marriage, divorce, new children or grandchildren, or a death of a loved one, we might need to update your plan. Staying in contact with McCreary Law Office can help you keep in mind when you need an update.
*McCreary Law Office understands that sometimes situations mean a client cannot make it to meet with Jana in person to sign a new plan. In such unique circumstances, Jana will visit clients in the hospital or a long-term care facility. Additional fees will apply for travel time and time away from the office. These will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.