Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer Understand The Difference
Many estate planning attorneys take a “one-size fits all” approach with their clients; they do this so that they can work with as many people as possible in a short period of time. The problem is that the client has impersonal experience; but worse than that, this way of planning can lead to unintended results in the long run for the family.
Consequences When Attorneys Don’t Listen
When lawyers do not take the time to listen and consider a family’s personal circumstances, the result is that your Will & Trust Documents do not end up reflecting what your family really wants to happen. And usually there is no review or updating, so the plan quickly becomes outdated and does not work when your family needs it most.
So even though you may pay less up front to get a standard set of documents (or even documents that are customized for your family), things end up much more expensive in the long run. Plus, you leave your family at risk of having to deal with an expensive, unnecessary court process during a time of tremendous grief.
Schwartz Legacy Planning, LLC. is right for you if you want to know that your plan will actually work when you and your loved ones need it most. If all you want is a set of legal documents, there are plenty of online resources you can use to create them. Or you can go to a traditional estate planning lawyer.
If what you want is to know you’ve got a plan in place that will work when your family needs it, and keep the people you love out of court, and out of conflict, and your assets out of the hands of the government, then we might be the right fit for you.
Here are Some of the Ways We Are Different From Most Other Estate Planning Lawyers
1. All of our fees are fixed fees agreed to in advance, so there are no surprises. At our initial meeting you will choose the level of planning and fee that works best for your family, so there will never be any surprises.
2. We keep you informed and make sure your plan works. We don’t just prepare a set of legal documents for you and send you on your way. We make sure your assets are owned in the right way, we make sure your kids’ well-being is properly planned for, we ensure everyone you’ve named in your plan knows what to do if anything happens to you. And, we make sure that none of your assets become part of the $58 Billion of unclaimed assets across the United States.
3. We review your plan at least every 3 years and annually through our VIP Membership program. We foster a lifetime, ongoing relationship with our clients. Throughout your life, things change. You change; your assets change; your family changes; the law will definitely change. When planning with us, your plan will keep up with those changes.
4. We have a whole team in place to answer your quick questions and to make the planning process incredibly easy and painless for you and your family. We have a process for helping you make sure that your assets are titled in the right way, both now and over your lifetime.
5. We help you get your legal and financial house in order by helping you make smart choices about things like buying insurance, saving for college, and retirement planning so you never spend more than you have to or get taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales people.
6. We’ve been specifically trained as a Personal Family Lawyer® to plan for your life and death, and to ensure that if you have minor children, they are never raised by anyone you wouldn’t want or taken into the care of strangers. And, if your children are adults, we help you weave them into your estate plan with care and forethought that most other lawyers simply do not have the training to do.
7. Legacy Planning. We believe that planning is about much more than just the transfer of your financial wealth. With all of our plans, we include a process to help you transfer your most important personal wealth to your loved ones, including your intellectual, spiritual and human assets - who you are and what’s important to you.
Before you engage an estate planning lawyer to help you plan for the well‐being of your money, your family and your life, there are questions you need to ask. You need to ensure that the estate plan you put in place will really work when your family needs it and won’t end up just a pile of worthless paper after you are gone.
Don’t let a set of legal documents become false security that keeps you from doing what’s best for your loved ones.
By now you've seen that Schwartz Legacy Planning, LLC. is something special and because you love your family, and want to keep them out of Court and out of conflict, when something happens to you, you are ready to take the first steps to get a plan in place. We think that’s a great idea. You know your family deserves the kind of protection, guidance and love we provide for a lifetime. It's important that you know how we work because we do things a bit differently here than at other law firms. That's why our clients love us so much.
You can schedule a quick 15-minute phone call to learn more about us, or you can schedule a full Family Wealth Planning Session. Choose the option that’s best for you. If you do choose the Family Wealth Planning Session, please make sure you’ve read up on what we’ll do together in that meeting before you come in, so that you come in prepared to be educated, informed and make empowered decisions for the people you love.
Schedule Your Family Wealth Planning Session
Call our office at (843) 732-3811 to schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session.
How Long Is A Family Wealth Planning Session?
When you schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session, we block 2 hours on our calendar so we can focus entirely on you and your family during this time. We will send you a package of information to complete before our time together, which will help you begin the process of getting your legal and financial life in order. During our meeting together, we will guide you to gently look at what would happen for your loved ones and with your assets if something were to happen to you. And then, we’ll look at what you want to happen and help you create a roadmap to get that plan in place as easily as possible. Clients routinely say “Wow, if we had known how easy this would be, we would have done it years ago!” after meeting with us.
How Much Does a Family Wealth Planning Session Cost?
Our Family Wealth Planning Session is $750 and if we create a comprehensive plan for you, that planning fee is applied to your legal fees for your lifetime estate plan. In many circumstances, we will waive the planning session fee and instead you can secure your appointment time with a credit card number.
In such cases, so long as you keep your appointment, nothing will be charged on your card unless you decide to proceed with a comprehensive estate plan after the Family Wealth Planning Session. In such a situation, if you must cancel within 1 week of your appointment, your credit card will still not be charged unless you fail to reschedule your appointment within 30 days of your cancellation. If you cannot keep your appointment and you choose not to reschedule, your credit card would be charged the $750 planning fee.
We understand that this policy of securing your appointment with a credit card may seem unique. So is our law firm. We provide our very best service to those families who are looking for a long-term relationship with their trusted advisor. We expend most of our energy providing an exceedingly high degree of service to our existing clients and limit the number of new clients we see each week. We only take referrals from trusted Professional Planning Partners. As a result, we must secure your appointment time so that if something comes up and you can't attend your appointment, we will have enough advance notice to open the slot to a waiting family.
What to Do Prior to Your Family Wealth Planning Session
After scheduling your appointment, you will receive your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment and other important information that you will want to review prior to your personal Family Wealth Planning Session. We must have your Inventory & Assessment returned to our office 3 days prior to your Session or we will need to reschedule your Session. Feel free to call the office at any time if you need assistance completing your Assessment or have any questions at all.
If you have existing estate planning documents, please make sure that we have your existing documents in our office at least a week before your meeting so that we can review them prior to meeting with you.
What to Expect the Day of Your Family Wealth Planning Session
On the day of your meeting, please expect to spend up to 2 hours with your attorney. The initial meeting with your attorney has two purposes:
1. To identify whether there is a good fit between you and our attorney who will become your Personal Family Lawyer® and...
2. To educate you about the law and what would happen if you died with your current (or no) plan in place.
By looking at what would happen under your current plan, you can identify what you would want to happen differently and then together with your Personal Family Lawyer's guidance make the decisions that are necessary (including choosing your own fee) to give you the peace of mind of knowing your family would out of Court, and out of conflict, when something happens to you.
Assuming that you and your attorney determine that there is a good fit between our firm and your family AND that you identify specific ways you would want things to happen that are different than what would currently happen if something happened to you, you and your Personal Family Lawyer®can design a plan for your family right away.
What Happens Next?
Once you and your Personal Family Lawyer® have completed the design of your plan, we will review your assets for the purpose of ensuring that everything you own will be titled for maximum protection and then schedule a meeting for you to sign your planning documents approximately 4 weeks later.
We have a process of reviewing your documents with you that makes your plan so easy to understand that you will know for certain that we understood exactly the way you want things to happen when something happens to you and that your loved ones will be in excellent hands with our firm. Once you sign your planning documents, your assets and your family are protected as discussed during your design meeting.
We see that as only the beginning of our relationship. You may make changes to your planning documents at no charge for up to 90 days after you sign your documents.
At our final meeting during the planning stage of our relationship, we verify that all of your asset transfers are moving forward on track whether we are taking the lead or you are taking the lead with our guidance. We review your asset spreadsheet with you and ensure all of your questions are answered. Of course, if they aren't or they become cloudy later on, we are always available to answer your questions at any time in the future. And, there's no charge for that.
What Happens After I Sign My Estate Planning Documents and Take Them Home?
After the planning phase is complete, the maintenance phase of your plan will begin. At no additional charge, we review your plan at least every three years and keep you informed about changes in the law and about other issues that affect your family and your wealth. And, if you participate in one of our VIP Membership programs, you will have an opportunity to review your plan on an annual basis, and we will provide your family with a number of other valuable services.
Finally, we are always here for you and we don't charge you for phone calls, faxes, or emails. We welcome your communications!
You'll be amazed at how easy and painless the entire planning process will be for your family.
As you can imagine, we get the question “how much does an estate plan cost” quite frequently.
And, it’s a good question that I want to answer for you as clearly as I can, given that there is not a “one-size fits all solution” for every family, and I would run quickly away from any lawyer who can tell you exactly what your plan would cost via email or over the phone, without a comprehensive discovery process.
You see, this is exactly why most estate plans fail. Families shop around based on price (because they don’t know any other way to shop for an estate plan), and end up with a traditional plan, which is a set of documents that do not actually work when the family needs them.
If you’d like to read more about this, please read my blog article here on “how shopping around for an estate plan could leave your family with an unexpected, expensive, unintended mess.”
In the meantime, here’s what I can assure you:
We've priced our estate planning for you and your family at the intersection of affordability and effectiveness. We start all of our plans with a Family Wealth Planning Session™, which is designed to get you more financially organized than you have ever been before, and ensure that no matter what happens, none of your hard-earned assets will be lost to the State Department of Unclaimed Property, when something happens to you.
Even if you never do any planning with us, the Family Wealth Planning Session™ alone is a hugely valuable process for you and your family, because you will create a full inventory of your assets and ensure your family knows what you have.
Then, when we meet in person, we will review everything you own, and discuss everyone you love, and you will understand exactly what would happen to everything you own and everyone you love, in the event of your death or incapacity.
If you do not have a plan, we will cover the plan the State has for you. If you do have a plan, we will review your current plan with you. (We call this an estate plan review and check-up). If you are not happy with your current plan (or the plan the State has for you), you will tell us what you would want to change, and we will look at the most effective, efficient and affordable way to achieve your goals.
Here’s the most important part for you to know about this: you will be making informed, educated, empowered decisions for the people you love, not just shopping around based on price.
And the best part is that as part of this process, you will actually choose your own fee based on your budget and the planning options that are most important to you and your family. There truly is no one size fits all choice.
We have created a process, though, to educate you quickly and effectively so that you can make empowered, informed choices about what you want for the people you love, so that you aren't simply choosing the cheapest option because you don't have any other basis for making your decisions.
Okay, now having said all that, you probably want to at least know a range of what estate planning will cost.
With all of that background in mind:
· A Family Wealth Planning Session process is $750. An Estate Plan Review and Checkup is $950. Those fees are applicable if you come in fully uneducated without doing any homework ahead of time.
· If you’d like to do a little preparation ahead of time, and secure your appointment time with a credit card (though nothing is charged on your card so long as you keep your appointment and turn in your homework in advance), you can follow the instructions and schedule here and use the coupon code indicated to commit that you will do your homework and prepare for the meeting. That saves me time, and saves you money.
· Our three levels of planning for a comprehensive plan (or update of your existing plan) range between $2,000 and $6,000, for a married couple, depending on the choices you make during the Family Wealth Planning Session™. If you are single, planning is discounted from there, appropriately.
If after reading this, you are ready to make informed, empowered, educated decisions for the people you love (instead of just shopping around for the cheapest plan, which is unlikely to work when your family needs it), get started by booking your Family Wealth Planning Session (or Estate Plan Review and Check-up) at (843) 732-3811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.