Estate Planning Process

Our first step is to discuss with you your estate planning goals, which could include several of the following:

  • Provide for my spouse, children and grandchildren
  • Reduce estate taxes as much as possible
  • Provide for those other than my spouse, children and grandchildren
  • Provide for the orderly transfer of my business
  • Protect assets from my creditors
  • Protect assets from the creditors of my spouse, children and grandchildren
  • Provide for a spouse, child or grandchild with special needs

In estate planning, the most important decision to make is determining who will help carry out your plans. As a firm, that is where we start the estate planning process. Naming the right fiduciaries is discussed and determined in the initial client meeting. These can include:

  • Trustees, both initial and successor
  • Personal (estate) representatives, both initial and successor
  • Guardians for any minor children

We will then ask you to supply information about yourself, your family and your situation. Information will include:

  • Personal and family data
  • Any professional advisors you currently use such as accountants, financial planners or insurance agents
  • Existing or relevant estate planning documents you may already have such as
    • Will
    • Revocable living trust
    • Irrevocable trust
    • Charitable trust
    • Durable power of attorney
    • Living will
    • Durable power of attorney for health care (or) health care surrogate designation
    • Advance directive regarding burial/cremation
    • Pre- or postnuptial agreement
    • Organ donation document
  • Financial information such as
    • Real estate
    • Bank accounts/investments
    • Retirement plans
    • Life insurance and annuities
    • Personal property and any other assets

As in any communication between attorney and client, all discussions, planning and information collected are held in the strictest of confidence.