Our Process

Our Process for Working With Clients

As your estate planning attorney, we strive to serve you as people, not as a file.  By focusing on your family’s hopes, dreams and aspirations, we are able to merge your vision with our legal expertise to create plans that serve your family not only today, but well into the future.

Step One: The Initial Consultation (Get Acquainted Meeting):

We want to make sure prospective clients have the opportunity to ask questions, feel a sense of comfort with us, and determine a fee range before making a commitment.  This is a “big picture” discussion of the client’s family, estate, and concerns as well as the document options that are available to you.  We offer prospective estate planning clients a complimentary one half hour initial consultation for general estate planning.  If you were referred to our office by a client or an advisor, or attend one of our free educational workshops, there is no charge for a one-hour consultation.  Please note, however, that we reserve the right to charge for other initial consultations. We do not bill clients for anything until an agreed upon fully executed fee agreement is in place.If we move forward in designing a plan, we will provide you with a Data Gathering Packet with a list of documents we will need you to bring back for your Design Meeting in addition to a Personal Information Sheet, listing family members and other personal information.

Step Two:  The Data Gathering and Design Meeting

During the Design Meeting, Jon and the clients will discuss the specific details of the plan and create the actual template for the completed documents.  This is really a creative process, where the attorney and client discuss solutions, pitfalls, and options.  This can also be a very emotionally powerful time to reflect on your family, your connections to them, and how the documents may represent those bonds.  Based upon the specific needs and goals of our clients, Jon will take the time to make estate planning recommendations to build an estate plan that plans for and protects the client and their loved ones.  This meeting typically runs one to two hours with clients.

While Jon is meeting with the clients, Ramona, his paralegal, will review the asset information and create a spreadsheet inventorying all of the estate assets.  This helps us identify important planning options and design considerations.  This spreadsheet is also a useful tool for Jon, Ramona, and the clients to plan the steps necessary to properly title assets or designate beneficiaries.

Step Three: Review and Sign the Documents

After the design and drafting of the estate plan, a follow-up meeting to sign documents and begin implementation of the plan will be scheduled. This meeting may be quite lengthy, as we will thoroughly explain the planning documents to our clients, and to their family members if necessary.  At the conclusion of this meeting, the estate plan is effectively in place. Your attorney will have personally drafted each of your legal documents and will review them with you to make sure everything is just right. Before you leave, we will set a funding meeting to completely fund your trust.

(Some clients have highly customized plans with very personalized language.  Other clients like to take their time reviewing each provision in detail.  This may necessitate a draft review meeting prior to the Signing Meeting.  We are happy to discuss this process and the draft review stages based upon the specific needs of the client.)

Step Four: Funding Meeting

This meeting is for the purpose of making sure all of the client assets that require a title change are handled and adjustments to beneficiary designations are initiated.  It is extremely important to fund your trust for your plan to actually work as intended.  Unlike some firms, we insist on supervising and facilitating this process.

Failing to properly address title to assets and beneficiary designations after the completion of the estate plan is like purchasing a safe and then leaving your valuable jewelry on top of it.  We are committed to plans that actually work as intended and we want the process to be as easy as possible for the client.


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