There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning otherwise, their estate will be distributed after death according to Colorado's laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the State’s estate plan with your own.
Every estate plan we create with our clients is based on at least three meetings: a Basecamp, Ascent andSummit Meeting. Depending on your personal situation, we may have additional meetings and calls. When you call to set an appointment, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a CONFIDENTIAL estate design worksheet. You will complete the appropriate sections and return the packet at least three days prior to your Basecamp Meeting. If it is not returned by then, we will reschedule your appointment.
At your initial Basecamp meeting, we will spend an hour or so discussing your planning goals, your family, your finances and the most important relationships in your life. Only after educating ourselves about you are we in a position to educate you about the best options and strategies for your estate plan. We analyze your existing plan and start designing the framework for your new plan. We also discuss your time and financial commitments to create and implement your plan. With few exceptions, there is no charge for this meeting. All we ask is that you complete the Welcome Packet accurately, discuss your goals, hopes, fears and dreams openly and that at the end of the meeting you reach a yes or no decision on whether you want to go forward with the proposed planning.
Once you decide to proceed with the design of your estate plan, we will give you some homework to complete and bring to the Ascent Meeting a couple of weeks later. This meeting is the core of your planning and will last approximately two to three hours. Half of your planning fee is due at this meeting.
If a living trust is part of your estate plan, asset retitling is part of our commitment to the success of your plan. Accordingly, the next step is an High Camp Meeting where you meet with one of our paralegals a week or so after the Ascent Meeting to identify all of your assets. This meeting lasts approximately an hour. If a living trust is not part of your plan, asset retitling is your responsibility, although we will be as involved as you want us to be for an additional fee.
At the Summit Meeting, we go through an in-depth review of each document we prepare for you to make sure you understand what we’ve done, the purpose of each document and how they all work together. We do not send you drafts of documents. Any changes to your documents will be made at your Descent Meeting. After our review, you will sign the documents and we will witness and notarize them as required. You will also sign any asset transfer documents. The balance of your planning fee is due at this meeting. If we need to discuss any additional funding issues or financial strategies, we will schedule a follow-up meeting with you and any of your financial advisors you wish to have present.
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