You probably chose your home for a variety of reasons… all very personal to you. It is within your budget, has the right number of bedrooms, a big backyard/bonus room to accommodate busy boys (and girls), a phenomenal playhouse for creative little ones, great schools and even better neighbors.
Whatever the reason THE MOST IMPORTANT PART is that you had the opportunity to choose the perfect home FOR YOUR FAMILY from a myriad of options. The decision wasn’t made for you by some unknown entity (a Probate Judge if you don’t have a Will, I’ll get to that in a minute) and the choices were not limited by a fill in the blank questionnaire (on-line Will template, again more to follow).
Just like your home, your Will and the Attorney who drafts this very important document should be personal TO YOU. Your legal advisor should show you all the neighborhoods (planning options) and be willing and competent to take you around because (1) she cares and (2) she is very familiar with what parents usually want and can give you an honest pros and cons review showing you everything, not just the homes with the biggest commission (quickest estate planning).
Your Will is like your house. You can decide; how detailed or streamlined it is, how many contingencies to address now or how best to allow for “room to grow” in the future, how much money you feel comfortable setting aside to keep the planning up-to-date. You can furnish your estate planning house with tax planning provisions and even personalized drafting to address a special needs family member (caring for a medically fragile child or elderly parent). You can set aside space for family pets and make personal gifts of family keepsakes.
The Attorney who builds your estate planning home should also be a “perfect fit”. She should be personal, professional and make the process painless. You want to find someone who is going to listen to what you really want and help you design a plan and pick a neighborhood that fits you rather then forcing your family to fit into a structure that you would never have chosen, had you had the choice.
Your Attorney should be someone who will be patient and show, explain, and educate you about the whole estate planning process, from the foundation to the chimney. Find out if your attorney offers that educational building block as a courtesy (as I do) or if they bill in minute increments. What if you decide to add on in the future? What will the cost for that be? What happens if you lose your key (original estate planning documents), which I always give to my clients? Will your attorney help you with that as well? Is a flat rate possible (what does it include?) or is the drafting done on a room-by-room basis?
Parents want what is best for their children. All too often, parents put off estate planning because they think they don’t need it, they think it can wait, they think they can’t afford it, they incorrectly believe all attorney services are the same, or they simply don’t know where to start.
I’m happy to help you begin your journey. Please never hesitate to give me a call.
Looking forward to meeting you,