Estate Planning Document Creation
While wealth preservation involves a wide variety of issues, most of the services that our lawyers provide concern the estate planning and document creation process, and advice and counsel with respect to the ongoing management and administration of trusts. Our representation of estate planning clients and their families typically spans a number of years, and is likely to consist of some or all of the following:
- Information Gathering and Objective Setting – Through an initial meeting or series of meetings, our lawyers gather information about the client’s family and assets, as well as specific goals and concerns the client has regarding the distribution of his/her estate.
- Estate Planning Education and Preliminary Recommendations – In these initial meetings, our lawyers also educate and inform clients about the estate and gift tax system (which often dictates much of the tax-planning structure of the estate planning process), as well as other legal and non-legal issues that impact the formulation of a client’s estate plan.
- Development of Customized Estate Plan – Based on the information gathered in these initial meetings, our lawyers present an estate plan to the client that includes all of the options available for meeting his/her stated objectives. Using feedback from the client and after further discussions, our lawyers customize the estate plan to his/her individual needs and preferences. We strive to provide our clients with options and to give great deference to informed client choices – we do not believe in “one-size-fits-all” planning.
- Drafting of Estate Planning Documents – Once the client selects his/her desired estate plan, our attorneys draft the documents necessary to put the plan into effect (e.g., wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts (both “living” and testamentary), Powers of Attorney, healthcare surrogacy documents, and deeds). An important part of this process involves ensuring that our clients understand the meaning and effect of the documents prior to signing.
- Ancillary Services – Over the years, our lawyers may perform a number of ancillary services, such as: counseling the client regarding the role of life insurance in an estate plan, or providing advice with respect to tax-planning strategies for a closely-held family business. In response to major changes in the law, in a client’s financial or family circumstances, and/or changes in the client’s goals, our lawyers also provide continuing assistance throughout the years to make any necessary alterations to the existing estate plan.