The Estate Planning Process
If you own assets or have people who depend on you, developing a proper estate plan is critical. Your estate reflects your life’s work and your legacy. At Lakeview Trust & Estate Law, PLLC, attorney Amy Mursu has established a process to provide excellent service, explore your hopes and fears regarding your estate, review options to address those hopes and fears, and design an inclusive, personalized estate planning plan to meet your unique estate planning needs. Amy designed this process to ensure your confidence at each step along the way, from the first meeting through the delivery and implementation of your completed plan and beyond. The ultimate outcome of Amy’s process is your peace of mind.
• Step One: Discovery
• Step Two: Design
• Step Three: Implementation
• Step Four: Maintenance
Step One: Discovery
There first step in the estate planning process is the completion of a confidential
which you can download and print to complete, or alternatively, we can mail a blank questionnaire to you upon your request. Once you have completed as much of the questionnaire as possible, please contact us to make an appointment. Before attorney Amy Mursu meets with you, she asks that you mail your questionnaire back to Lakeview Trust & Estate Law, PLLC at least two days before your initial meeting. This questionnaire helps you consider and clarify your needs, priorities, and goals. Amy reviews your situation before the initial meeting so that she can: (1) plan the meeting to focus on your specific situation, and (2) expedite the estate planning process.
During this discovery stage, you may want to have your financial advisor or accountant help you put together the necessary information. Amy may also request your permission to obtain information directly from your trusted advisors, such as accountants, financial & investment advisors, insurance agents or bankers. As appropriate, Amy often finds that coordinating her efforts with a client’s other advisors provides her clients with the most comprehensive and effective estate planning possible.
The purpose of your initial visit is for you to become comfortable with Lakeview Trust & Estate Law, PLLC as your estate planning firm and for attorney Amy Mursu to learn about your planning goals and concerns. During this visit you will also review and discuss your assets. Amy will use the initial consultation to explain the laws relevant to your plans based on your goals and your assets and to review how those laws will impact you and your family.
Step Two: Design
Depending on the complexity of your estate, the design step may occur during your initial visit or during a separate design meeting. During the design stage, attorney Amy Mursu discusses planning opportunities and how those opportunities meet your objectives. Amy will identify estate preservation strategies and options for your consideration. Some of these strategies you may not even know exist. Amy will review her fixed fee philosophy for designing, drafting, and implementation of your options. After discussing your options and evaluating Amy’s recommendations, you will have the opportunity to choose a plan that best matches your needs.
Additional information that may be helpful to you throughout the design stage includes the following:
Upon signing an engagement letter, Amy will finalize the plan design and begin preparation of necessary documents. Although everyone should have certain basic documents in place (such as wills, medical directives, and powers of attorney), every estate plan created at Lakeview Trust & Estate Law, PLLC, is tailored to the specific needs of a particular client and may need to include additional documents that meet your advanced planning needs.
After the documents are complete, Amy mails you drafts of the documents for your review, along with a detailed letter explaining critical provisions of the documents. Amy makes every effort to help her clients understand even the most sophisticated legal documents. In more complicated plans, Amy also provides a diagram outlining the basic nature of the estate plan and giving a general overview of how assets are to be distributed under the plan. Once you have reviewed the documents, Amy welcomes you to call to discuss questions or make changes. Once you thoroughly understand how your plan meets your goals, arrangements are made to formally execute the documents.
Step Three: Implementation
During the implementation visit, attorney Amy Mursu will review all relevant documents with you. You will sign the documents and put your comprehensive estate plan to work for you. After the documents are signed, Amy sends in any needed changes to the title of your assets or beneficiary designations. This is a core service that helps assure your assets reside within the walls of your trust. She will then assemble your documents into an estate planning portfolio and present you with your completed estate plan.
Step Four: Maintenance
Although the titling of your assets and beneficiary designations are ultimately your responsibility, Amy is always available to review any documentation you may receive with regard to your accounts and answer any questions you may have regarding re-titling your accounts or assigning beneficiaries to properly protect your assets.
After your documents have been signed, Amy offers family meetings as an optional step in the process, because many of her clients have requested a meeting with their children to educate them about their estate plan. At the family meeting, Amy helps family members understand your estate plan and the roles you expect them to play. The family meeting provides your children the opportunity to discuss with us how their estate plan should coordinate with yours and what they should tell their own advisors.
At Lakeview Trust & Estate Law, PLLC, attorney Amy Mursu does not believe that her relationship with you ends once the plan documents have been signed. She recognizes that circumstances will undoubtedly change as you move through the different stages of life. Not only do your circumstances change, but so do state and federal laws. These changes will at some point necessitate the revisiting of your estate plan. Lakeview Trust & Estate Law sends out periodic mailings to inform clients of changes in the law that may affect their estate planning and to help them maintain an awareness of their estate planning goals. Amy also contacts you personally every two to five years to review your plan and ensure that it not only still reflects your personal circumstances, but maximizes every opportunity to achieve your goals.