WHY OFFER TWO OPTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Estate Planning has been practiced by attorneys for literally thousands of years. However, not only has society changed tremendously over the millennia, but we have seen remarkable advancement in computer technology and connectivity over just the past 25 years. As such, we believe that we can be of better service to our clients by offering them a new option that takes advantage of that advancement in computer technology. The end result is that clients who take advantage of our online services can receive comprehensive, legally sound estate plans in less time and potentially for less money than ever before.
TRADITIONAL ESTATE PLANNING
In the traditional model, a client schedules an initial consultation with an attorney to discuss his/her needs and wishes. They discuss the client's estate, family make-up and dynamics, and unique circumstances. They discuss whether the client has made decisions regarding his/her healthcare in later years or whether to be buried or cremated, and where to be laid to rest. They discuss
the challenges that may be faced by his/her heirs with regard to taxes, minor children, or beneficiaries with special needs. They discuss any charities or other causes to which the client may wish to leave a gift. They discuss the ramifications of an estate plan with respect to creditors or divorcing spouses. And they discuss whether the client wishes to plan for elder care and/or Medicare claims, and how that impacts the estate plan today.
After the consultation, the client is given some "homework" to do, and then a second meeting is scheduled. At that meeting, the client and attorney review the client's estate, both assets and debts, in great detail, and follow up on questions raised at the consultation. This meeting will allow the attorney to select the proper framework for the client's estate plan.
Once the draft plan is prepared, it is mailed (or emailed) to the client for review, after which a third meeting is scheduled to discuss questions, concerns, or other questions which have arisen. Another draft may be sent to the client. Finally, a fourth meeting is scheduled for witnessing and signing the final documents.
After the final documents are copied, scanned, and assembled, the attorney will provide the client with his/her final estate planning package, consisting of the original documents and a scanned copy on a USB flash drive, title transfer documents, letters of direction to any financial institutions or other entities necessary, and a letter of instruction to the client. The attorney will follow up with the client to ensure the instructions were completed, and in some cases will take on some of those tasks for clients who need the additional assistance.
Traditional estate planning is complete and comprehensive wraparound service to the client. We additionally offer to make any requested changes to the estate plan within one year of signing; and offer a complimentary review of the client's estate plan and changed circumstances, if any, in three years.
EXPRESS ONLINE ESTATE PLANNING
We now offer our clients the ability to do some or all of their estate planning themselves, online, from the comfort of their own homes or offices, and at their own pace and convenience.
Rather than using some cookie-cutter, mass-market website that basically just "fills-in-the-blanks" into generic documents, our state-of-the-art, sophisticated system allows a client to prepare his/her own customized estate plan based on his/her own specific needs and concerns, using the same computerized intelligent software on the back end to craft state-specific, individualized estate planning documents that are a large cut above those generic cookie-cutter documents. Once a client registers in our system, it will lead him/her through a simple but comprehensive interview that will allow the client to enter his/her own answers and data, and offers several options for finalizing their plans.
For those clients who are confident in the knowledge of what their estate plan should entail and the mechanics of making it happen, the system will enable them to complete the entire process from start to finish without any attorney involvement (other than that the software and the document provisions are managed by an attorney).
For those clients who are confident, but want the reassurance of having an attorney review their documents for potential issues and problems, and to ensure the documents are legally sound, we offer that option.
And for those clients who really just want to input their own information to start or accelerate the estate planning process, then have an attorney make the decisions and recommendations and draft the documents for them, we also offer that option.
Ultimately, we believe that our clients will benefit from these various options and can make the decisions they believe are best for themselves and their families.