OK, I am ready to schedule an initial consultation and get started with becoming a client of PlaskettLaw, LLC. What next? (If you have a current estate plan and want it to have a “full physical exam” review, then see Step 5 below.)
While on our website, click on either the “Request a Consultation” option or the “Get Started Now” option. After you watch a short video (1:56 minute) explaining “Our Process” and then provide your basic contact information, then we will send two required online e-Documents via separate emails for you to complete and submit at least one calendar week before we meet: the Estate Planning Priorities and the Confidential Client Questionnaire.
Just as each of our clients is unique, so is each of the estate plans we create after becoming a client. What is “essential” for one client may be “irrelevant” for your circumstances, and vice versa.
The first email will link to the Estate Planning Priorities and its purpose is two-fold: 1) to provide us with an initial snapshot of your unique estate planning priorities; and 2) to provide you with an easy-to-understand estate planning tutorial before we meet. In fact, after you complete the Estate Planning Priorities, you will have a better grasp of estate planning than 95% of attorneys.
Once you submit your Estate Planning Priorities online, then you will receive a second email with a link to the second and final e-Document: the Confidential Client Questionnaire. Please complete and submit this Questionnaire at least one calendar week before your initial consultation.
The purpose of this Questionnaire is also two-fold: 1) to help you think through and evaluate your important 3 Ps; and 2) to provide us with the initial snapshot of the 3 Ps relevant to your estate plan (i.e., the important People, Property, and Plans) prior to our meeting.
Q: If I start one of the e-Documents, but need to stop, can I finish it later?
A: No need to start over. Simply pick up right where you left off.
Q: What online interface will I be using to complete and submit the e-Documents? Will my information be safe?
A: We selected Cognito Forms because your answers are kept confidential and secure when entered and submitted.
Before we meet I carefully study your answers on both of the online e-Documents, so I’m better prepared to help you.
At the time of our online appointment, we strongly recommend that you are in a quiet setting free from outside distractions. After you and I are comfortably settled into our respective rooms, I’ll explain that the experience is intended to be educational and that all questions are welcome at any time during our conversation. Why? Because becoming a client means you and I are on a journey together to find estate planning peace of mind for you and your loved ones. You and I are partners in that quest and I know how to help you get there safely. But I need your help. That’s why we ask you to complete and submit our e-Documents in advance. We want to measure twice and cut once so we don’t miss any essential details that are important to you.
I’ll be able to diagnose your situation after you’ve fully educated me about your important people, your property, and your plans. If I think we can be of help, then I’ll provide a range of appropriate “treatment” options and associated pricing for your consideration. If you want to move forward, then we’ll sign a standard engagement agreement and schedule the time and date to sign your custom estate plan … usually within a few weeks. We then receive half of the agreed price to begin preparing the estate plan and the balance when the plan is signed. On the other hand, if you want to think about it, then take all the time you need. There’s never any pressure from us to become a member of our “client” family.
For starters, we believe our clients are grownups and will let us know if changes are needed … if we just stay in touch. So, how do we stay in touch? For starters, I publish a blog each week on topics relevant for my clients. In fact, I have written blog posts on topics ranging from estate planning to the latest on Medicare and Social Security to celebrity estate news (e.g., Aretha Franklin, and others). You can also sign up for our newsletter which will send articles of interest directly to your inbox. The purpose of all this regular client communication is to keep in touch. That way if a change occurs regarding your important people or property, then you are more likely to contact me so we can tweak your estate plan as needed. If you are unsure whether updates are needed, simply give us a call or send us an email. As you can see, we will go to great lengths to stay in touch with you after you become a member of our “client” family.
“Change happens” in life and some of those changes can impact your estate plan. The price of an estate plan review is $350, whether we originally prepared the estate plan or you are bringing a plan prepared elsewhere. Why? By analogy, our estate plan review process is like having a “full physical exam” of your current plan. In that spirit, just like before my own annual full physical, you will have some “tests” to complete and submit at least one calendar week before the consultation to discuss the results. For my annual physical these tests include an EKG, blood draw, blood flow ultrasound, pulmonary function test, and a urinalysis. For your estate plan review, you will be asked to complete the same two required online e-Documents described above in Step 1 for an initial consultation, plus a third e-Document titled Estate Plan Review Questions. Some of these Estate Plan Review Questions will be eye-opening and touch on matters you might not have considered. As you read each question, simply click the appropriate responses: yes, no, uncertain, or not applicable. Also, if I do not have them already, I will need a copy of your current estate plan and any amendments. You may scan and email them, mail them via USPS, copy and deliver them, etc. Regardless of how they are delivered, I will need your current estate plan documents one calendar week before we meet. If any changes need to be made to your estate plan, then those changes will be billed separately at a flat price quoted in advance.
The key to a successful estate plan is how well you organize and communicate the information your loved ones will need to know when they need to know it. [Hint: You will not be around to guide them when their need to know becomes relevant.] We provide our clients with the “tools” to help them get and stay organized.