Regardless of age, it is important that everyone has an estate plan. Many of us avoid planning our estates because it makes us face our own mortality. However, ignoring the fact that none of us make it out alive will only make things worse for your family down the road. Some people feel daunted by the process because they think it is extraordinarily complex–but it is only as complicated as you make it. At Sturgul & Long, S.C., we understand that preparing an estate plan may feel like an overwhelming task. Whether simple or complex, our office will guide you through this process step by step from start to finish in order to ensure that you end up with the estate plan that you want.
Our interaction will start when you call our office to schedule an initial consultation. We can conduct the initial consultation in person at one of our many office locations, virtually via Zoom, or via telephone. Prior to the initial consultation, we will send you a client questionnaire to complete. We will also let you know what documents to bring to the initial consultation. We will schedule this initial consultation far enough out in order to give you sufficient time to complete the client questionnaire and gather relevant materials.
Our initial consultations usually last between sixty and ninety minutes. The attorney will ask what your goals and objectives are. To have a productive initial consultation, it is extremely important that you come prepared–which means bringing your completed client questionnaire and other relevant documents. It is also important that you have a general understanding of where you want your assets to go when you pass away. Based upon your goals and objectives, as well as the assets that you have, the attorney will make a recommendation to you for your estate plan. We will quote you a flat fee for all of your estate planning documents at this time.
If you decide to move forward with any estate planning documents, we will usually schedule a document signing approximately thirty days after your initial consultation. This gives our office sufficient time to prepare drafts of all documents and thoroughly review them before you return to our office. At the document signing appointment an attorney will review each document with you. Final changes to documents can be made at this time if you so desire. Document signings must be in person as current laws require most estate planning documents to be witnessed and/or notarized in person. If you desire to review drafts of documents before this appointment, then you must let us know as soon as possible.
After everything has been signed, witnessed, and notarized, we will make copies of your documents for our file. We will circulate any documents that require signatures of other individuals through the mail. We will also proceed to record any necessary deeds with the local Register of Deeds. In the event that you established a trust, then we will continue to work with you to transfer assets to your trust. All original documents will be returned to you either at your document signing appointment or via U.S. Mail.
A complete estate plan should consist of more than just a will. It is important to understand that a will, in itself, does nothing to avoid a probate proceeding when you pass away. Furthermore, you may become incapacitated before you die and it is important that someone else has legal authority to make health care and financial decisions on your behalf under such circumstances. Please click on a topic below to learn more about it. In our estate planning practice, the following documents are often used to form a comprehensive estate plan:
One of the biggest mistakes that we see people make is that they sign their estate planning documents and never look back. However, estate planning is a process. People grow older, relationships change, close family and friends pass away, and families expand. As facts and circumstances change, it is important to review your estate plan and make changes as necessary. This is especially important as minor children grow up and start to play a more prominent role in your life, when there is a death in the family, or if long-term care is on the horizon. Regardless of what it is, we are here to help you make these changes.