How We Are Different
Explaining what makes us different requires an understanding of what often happens when people meet with the “typical” law office to prepare an estate plan.
In the “typical” estate planning experience, you see an attorney and he prepares a set of documents without a clear understanding of your unique family situation and understanding all of your goals, objectives and desires. You sign the form documents without fully understanding everything and end up placing those documents in a drawer or on a shelf.
Time marches on and your children grow up. Your planning circumstances change. You obtain new assets or refinance your house. You read in the paper or see in the news that there was a change in the law. You figure that if it applies to you, you would hear from your attorney. You don’t so you think that everything is fine. Then you realize, you don’t even remember his name since it has been so many years.
It is at this point that you need to reach out to us so we can review your plan and ensure it will work for you and your family when you become incapacitated or when you die. Otherwise what could happen is when you become incapacitated or die, your family happens upon the binder you put on a shelf. They are devastated to discover that your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your assets and the law. This is called plan failure. Your family doesn’t know what to do so they find the attorney’s name on the old documents and call him for help. He is happy to probate your assets that never made it into the trust. He will be happy to take the case, but your family will be devastated that they ended up on in probate and dealing with the stress, expense and delay associated with it. To learn more about probate, click here.
How do we know this? Because it happens all the time and we have countless clients relay this exact scenario happening to them and their family members. Fortunately we can help many of them before it is too late.
The estate planning industry was not designed to serve growing families who experience numerous changes in their lives. Traditionally, it was created to serve the elderly who are preparing for death.
Here are the many ways we at Cheever Law, APC operate differently from most estate planning attorneys:
- Our fees are fixed and agreed to in advance, meaning there are no surprises. During our first meeting, you decide on the level of planning and the fee is agreed upon in advance so you will never get a surprise bill in the mail from our office.
- We ensure that your plan works as intended. We don’t just prepare a set of legal documents and then never talk to you again. We make sure your children are taken care of, your assets are owned in the proper way, and everyone named in your plan knows what to do if anything happens to you.
- We have a funding coordinator to ensure your assets are safe during your lifetime and available for your loved ones after you pass away.
- We have annual membership programs to ensure your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime and your assets are always owned in the right way. Whether you participate in one of my membership programs or not, we keep all of our clients updated about changes in the law and issues that might affect your life through our e-newsletters, emails and review meetings.
- We often serve the whole family and multiple generations of the same family. From estate plan reviews for elderly parents to basic planning documents for young adult children, we do our best to show that we care about you and your family.
- We review our clients’ plans at a minimum of once every three years. Those enrolled in our membership program have their plans reviewed every year. Because estate planning is an involving process, we want to have an ongoing relationship with you. Throughout your life things will change. It is certain that you will change, your family will change, your assets will change and the law will change. We will diligently ensure that your plan will keep up with those changes.
- We have a focus of protecting your children. If your children are minors, your planning will include a Kids Protection Plan©. We ensure that your children are taken care of with proper planning if anything happens to you. If your children are adults, we include them in your estate plan with the kind of care and forethought that you deserve.
- If charitable giving is important to you, we guide you through the many options within your estate plan. We can help you with gifting during your lifetime and after you pass.
- Our philosophy is that planning is about much more than the transfer of your financial wealth. We include a process to help you transfer your most important personal wealth to your loved ones — your intellectual, spiritual and human assets, which define who you are and what’s important to you.
As you hire an estate planning attorney, you can feel confident that we are qualified to set up and maintain a plan that will work the way you intended when you family needs it the most.
You are invited to contact us or call us at (858) 432-3923 to set up a meeting to learn more about each other. We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you and be your lawyer for life.