I really cherish and look forward to vacations. Whether it's a quick day trip or an extended journey, I always try to forget about the work awaiting my return. When the time to return home inevitably rolls around, I'm usually still smiling, however, because I truly enjoy the work I do.
I recall reading the results of a survey that found that most people spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning for a possible disability or their eventual demise. Although I finally had my own estate plan created, I can still relate to the concept of avoiding unpleasant tasks. There have been times when I have taken long, extended vacations from something I knew I should be taking care of, like making that doctor or dental appointment. I'll keep procrastinating or re-scheduling my appointment date, hoping everything is and will continue to be alright. Perhaps you too can relate. Maybe you are even one of those individuals (or a couple) who is still on vacation in terms of getting your estate plan done.
Because I understand that many people tend to avoid unpleasant tasks and because I have been engaged in providing estate planning services for many years, I try to make the estate planning process as simple as possible. Here is what I recommend: (1) Do your homework. You should have a good idea of the legal fundamentals, the cost involved and how to prepare for a meeting with the attorney. When I get an inquiry concerning estate planning, I send a brochure to the prospective client which explains the fundamentals of estate planning, includes my fee schedule, and has a list of issues to consider and documents to gather to create an estate plan. (2) Allow one to two months to complete your estate plan. In addition to scheduling meetings with your attorney, there are issues to ponder and decisions that might require some careful thought. You might also need to have meetings and discussions with others, for example, the persons you plan to nominate as guardians for your minor children or your financial planner.
Once a client makes an appointment with me to create an estate plan, I conduct an interview to ascertain facts relevant to the client. Within the week or so following the interview, I send the client the most important portions of the estate plan for review. After the client has reviewed the draft and we have made any necessary or desired changes, an appointment is scheduled to sign the estate planning documents.
Estate planning is one task that no one can afford to put off forever. After finishing, clients invariably tell me that the process was much easier than they had imagined. To receive my information package, please call or email me (see below) with your name and address and I will promptly mail it to you unless, of course, I am on vacation.
© 2014 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.