How to Get Started
We know, beginning your estate plan is a big step. So our process is designed to ensure your confidence in the planning process each step of the way. Over the course of approximately eight weeks, you will meet with Karin Foster, our owner and founder, for about 6.5 hours to complete and deliver the estate planning paperwork. This is nearly $2000 worth of attorney time before the creation of your legal documents!
Schedule a 45 minute Consult
To get started in the Estate planning process, call our office at 505-308-8666 to schedule a consult with Ms. Foster. Our staff will ask you some questions to determine whether you will be a 'good fit' to develop the necessary long-term relationship needed to correctly do your estate planning. We will also point you in the right direction to start gathering your information.
At the initial consult we will discuss your current affairs and what would happen if you did nothing (hint: the government has a plan that you may not like). This meeting is a generalized session to do a high-level assessment of your situation. The fee for this consult is $250 paid upfront. If you decide to retain our firm this fee will be included in the required retainer.
Schedule your Estate Plan Design Session
You may already know that you want to do your estate planning because you know you need to protect those you love. The Estate Planning Design Session is for those clients who are ready to retain our firm and move right into talking about the details of their specific situation requiring incapacity, guardianship and post-death planning and legal documents right away.
When you call our office at 505-308-8666 asking for the Estate Planning Design Session, we will ask you for some identifying information as well as a $480 EPD fee to cover the cost of preparing for and time allotted for the 1.5 hour meeting. We will direct you towards thinking about who you will want to nominate to the various responsible positions needed in your estate plan. If you prefer, we may send you a Client Questionnaire (CQ) form to fill out prior to the appointment. We have found that clients who take the time to fill out the CQ form end up with a better understanding of the process because they have taken the time to digest the various issues we will discuss at your upcoming meeting. So that we can prepare for the Design meeting, we do require that the CQ is returned at least 3 days before the Estate Planning Design appointment. We will also require that you bring copies of all your existing estate planning, beneficiary, financial assets and policy documents to the meeting.
The Estate Plan Design Session
The 1.5 hour Estate Planning Design session, which occurs after you have retained our firm and done some preliminary paperwork, will give you a comprehensive review of your assets, your heirs, your financial situation and is the first step towards designing your long-term estate plan for you and your family. Ms. Foster will walk you through exactly what your loved ones would have to do if something happened to you. We will discuss very personal issues such as the competency of your children and your nominated agents, the stability of your marriage should a remarriage situation occur and your health issues. We will discuss the very specific details of your situation and we will spent time discussing your nominations, distribution of your assets and your desired legacy to design a unique plan that will give you the peace of mind of knowing your family will be taken care of in the event the unthinkable happens.
Complete your Homework
About 2 days after your Estate Planning Design appointment, you will receive a summary document of all the nominations you made at the Design meeting. We will also remind you to provide us with all documents we discussed at the meeting including beneficiary designations, deeds and insurance policy information. We will need all this information uploaded to our encrypted client portal at least 1 week prior to the Signing Ceremony.
The Signing Ceremony
Once your plan has been designed, Attorney Foster will draft all your legal documents and you will return to our office about 3 weeks later to sign your planning documents. This meeting is generally about 2 hours as we will discuss and review every provision of your documents to make sure you understand how your assets, wealth and legacy are to be handled in case of your incapacity and, in case of your death, transferred in the way you want them to be transferred. After signing these documents, your family and your assets will be protected in the case of your death or incapacity.
The Asset Review / Legacy meeting
This is one of the most important meetings of our process because this meeting is when we:
ensure your assets are all owned in the right way which includes finalizing deed paperwork;
Assist you to transfer assets to your trust (you can have the best set of legal documents, but if your assets are not owned in the right way, it’s all been a waste;
make sure everyone you’ve named to take care of your kids is aware of their responsibilities should they get the call,
make sure your young adults are scheduled to come in to draft and sign their very important Young Adult Wellness Plan documents.
Followup Annual Teleconference
You will be contacted annually by our office to ask if there have been major life changes to you or your family over the past year. If your legal documents need minor updates, such as adding or changing names, this is included in your plan. Any significant updates, such as adding a trust will be negotiated upfront.
Followup meeting every 3 years to review plans
Because your life changes, the law changes and your family changes, your documents will need to be reviewed and possibly updated every three years. Updates for designations of your beneficiaries, a those nominated to various important roles in your plan are included in your plan. Substantive changes due to changes in the law, or a major change to your plan, such as adding a new trust, will be negotiated upfront.