Getting to Know You – How I Start the Planning Process

Getting to Know You – How I Start the Planning Process

So you’ve seen the light.  You realize that life is uncertain, and you want the peace of mind that comes with having a proper estate plan in place.  And you’ve steeled yourself for a conversation with (gasp!) a lawyer.

And what are you thinking as you make that call?  Well, I’m not a mind reader, but I know what I’d be thinking:

What’s this guy’s name again?  I wonder if he’ll actually pick up the phone.  Lawyers don’t answer their own phones, do they?  Will he actually talk to me?  Will he really meet with me for free?  Will he tell me anything useful or just make a sales pitch?  What do I need to bring?  What will I have to tell him?  And what happens next?  Am I committed?  What if I want to think about it?  What if I’m not ready to move forward?

Frankly, I’d be nervous making that call.  With all those unknowns, who wouldn’t be?

Well guess what?  If you call me, I will pick up the phone, and I will talk to you.  I’ll probably ask you some questions because I’m curious and because I want to help.  But even if we talk for a while, our conversation will be just that, a conversation.  Not a billable event.  Not a sales pitch.  A conversation.

Then, if you want to talk some more, we can schedule an initial meeting, which will be free.  That meeting is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better, for you to tell me about your situation and your goals, and for me to give you some thoughts on what planning steps might be appropriate for you and how much they are likely to cost.

You won’t need to bring anything to that meeting.  Just be ready to tell me the basics of your family and financial circumstances.  I’ll want to know who’s who in your family, where they are, and a bit about what they’re like.  I’ll also want to know what types of assets you own and about how much they’re worth.  And of course I’ll want to know what your goals and concerns are.  Those basics will give us plenty to talk about.

And just like when you called me, our meeting will be a conversation.  Not a billable event.  Not a sales pitch.  My hope is that you leave my office with a better idea of your planning options and some sense of what it would be like to work with me.  That way you will be well-prepared to consider your next steps.

Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?  Maybe you’ll even give me a call.  Good idea.

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