Q: Why should I complete the questionnaire before my appointment?
A: Your attorney will need the information requested in the questionnaire to ensure that your plan is the right one to match your goals, the needs of your family and loved ones, and to address possible tax and other issues. Without having this information, there is a risk that the plan could overlook issues or even fail in critical ways.
Q: Can you tell me how much my estate plan will cost?
A: Your estate plan will be as unique as you are and without information about your goals and other determining factors, an estimate is hard to give. Discussion of these issues needs to take place before we can give you a quote even though we usually charge a flat fee. To give a quote before discussing your planning goals would be like estimating the cost to build a house without knowing the number of bedrooms desired or the kinds of materials being used to do the job. Your attorney will be able to give you a no-obligation quote during your no-cost “Initial” or “Check-up” (for previous clients) meeting.
Q: How long will it take to create my estate plan?
A: Generally speaking, the process to draft, review, make changes, and execute estate planning documents, is about six to eight weeks from the time the project is started (when all information is provided and when the signed Memorandum of Engagement and payment are received).
Q: What do I need to do if my loved one passes away?
A: If your loved one passes away and guidance is needed as to what next steps should be taken, please call Rehberg Law Group at 206.246.8772. We will send the Personal Representative (or Trustee) a letter detailing what general items every estate needs to consider at a death. We also offer the Personal Representative (or Trustee) a meeting with an attorney to discuss what next steps are required to settle the decedent’s estate.
Q: It has been a few years since I did my estate plan, can I still have a copy of my documents?
A: There is a fee to provide you with copies of your documents and it may take 5 to 7 business days to process the request because we may need to order your file from our off-site secured storage facility. Additionally, you also have your executed original documents which should be in your Estate Planning binder (or “Notebook”) which was given to you when you originally signed your estate documents. Rehberg Law Group holds a duplicate original set of your documents in case something happens (e.g. fire, flood, or theft) to your originals.
Q: Can I just make my own Will?
A: Technically, you do not need the assistance of an attorney to draft your Will. However, without knowing what you do not know, your self-drafted Will may have unintended consequences. These consequences could cost your loved ones more time, more money, and possibly the chance of litigation, after your death.
Q: Why should I buy new real estate in the name of my Trust?
A: If you purchased real estate in your name alone, there may be a probate at your death. Probate can be avoided if you have a Living Trust and if your assets fall under the umbrella of the Trust. If you have a Living Trust and you purchase a new piece of real estate, you should purchase it in the name of your Trust. You can find Trust titling information on your Certificate and Affidavit of Trust.
Q: Do I need to let you know if I sell property in the name of my Trust?
A: No, you do not need to let us know if you sell an asset in the name of your Trust. However, please do let us know if you sell your primary residence so we can update your contact information. At your next review appointment, you can review asset changes with us.
Q: Where should I store my original estate planning documents?
A: You should keep your original documents in a safe place but not in a safety deposit box. Why not? Because your bank may not be open when you need it to be. Clients should keep their original documents somewhere easily accessible in an emergency.
TIP: If you place your original documents in a fire proof safe, it is a good idea to place them in a waterproof bag.
Q: Rehberg Law Group created a Trust for my parents and I have some questions about it. Can you give me more information?
A: If you are the Trustee of your parent’s Trust, then yes, we can answer your questions. However, if you are not the Trustee of your parent’s Trust, we will first need to obtain your parent’s permission (or if a parent is incapacitated or deceased, the acting Trustee’s permission) to speak with you. If we are granted permission, then and only then, can we answer your questions about your parent’s plan.
Q: What is a Springing Durable Power of Attorney?
A: A Springing Durable Power of Attorney is a power of attorney that becomes effective upon the occurrence of an event – in this case, your incapacity. This type of power of attorney will only allow your Agent to act on your behalf once you become incapacitated. Incapacity is often determined by two physicians.
Q: How do I execute a Personal Effects List?
A: To create a Personal Effects List or Tangible Effects List, your estate planning documents need to provide for a list and you will need to list each item and to whom the item should be given to at your death. Your list needs to be signed and dated. To change it, all you need to do is “X” out the old list and sign and date a new list. If you have more than one list, then the most current list what disposed of a specific item controls where it goes.
TIP: Attach pictures of specific items to your list. You do not want beneficiaries fighting over which ring you meant to give which grandchild.
If your questions were not answered above or you need more information, please contact the office at 206.246.8772 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.