Estate Planning is the process where a client thoughtfully and deliberately designs a plan for the management and disposal of his or her assets through wills, trusts, and other estate planning strategies. This process is one of the most important steps our clients can take to ensure that their final wishes are honored and that they have provided for their loved ones.
Estate Planning looks different for each client and is tailored to the specific needs of each client. It typically consists of several different documents, including:
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Powers of Attorney
- Advance Medical Directives
- Nomination of Guardians for Minor Children
At Tesfaye | Amare, PLLC, we believe that Estate Planning is not just for the wealthy or the elderly. Estate Planning is for everyone. When someone dies without a will, the estate will be distributed according to the laws of the state, which may not match that person’s preferences. This is especially true when a person has minor children or disabled family members, is part of a blended family, is single, or wants to leave assets to a non-family member or charity. Not only does Estate Planning ensure that a client’s wishes are clearly expressed, but it will also reduce family disputes and the pain and confusion caused by the loss.
We understand that the thought of estate planning is overwhelming for most people. We hope to relieve any potential anxiety by educating our clients on their possible options and enabling them to make confident, informed decisions. We find that our clients have concerns beyond their assets; they want to make sure that their legacy and values are passed onto the next generation in addition to their material goods. We work with the entire family to ensure that this transfer to the next generation is in accordance with the client’s wishes and is with minimal conflict and stress.
Estate Planning Process
As every client’s needs are different, the process described below may not apply to an individual client’s specifically-tailored process. Generally speaking, our Estate Planning Process has five steps to create an estate plan that is tailored to meet the specific needs of you and your family.
- Schedule an initial consultation. Please call our office at 703-705-2011 or book an appointment through our website. We are proud to offer a free initial consultation to new clients. In addition to regular office hours, appointments are also available one evening a week and one weekend a month.
- The First Meeting. The first meeting will last between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the client’s assets and situation. In this meeting, we hope to educate our clients on the probate process in addition to their options for avoiding probate. Our goal is to enable our clients to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions guided by our legal advice. After reviewing the client’s assets and priorities, we will present the various estate planning options and will generally quote a fixed fee for each option. If the client decides to retain us, we will either immediately begin the Planning Meeting or schedule a time for this meeting.
- The Planning Meeting. In this meeting, we begin the process of creating the client’s unique, tailor-made plan. Each client’s plan is different, just as each client’s needs and family situation are different. At the end of this meeting, we will schedule the Signing Meeting, which is usually about 4 weeks after the Planning Meeting. Within 10 days of the Planning Meeting, we always contact our clients to confirm details of their plans and follow up on missing information.
- The Signing Meeting. During this meeting, we will review all of the documents together with the client. We take our time going through each document and make sure to answer any lingering questions the client may have. After reviewing and approving everything, the client will sign all documents while we ensure that all legal formalities are observed. We will also explain the steps the client must take to retitle and transfer all assets, if necessary. At the conclusion of this meeting, we will schedule the final meeting.
- Follow-Up Meeting. In this meeting, we will present the client with the original documents, copies of all documents, and any letters to fiduciaries. We will also confirm that all assets have been retitled and transferred. We invite our clients to bring their family or close friends to this meeting in case they have any questions about the estate plan. We understand that estate planning is about more than material things; we hope to help our clients pass on their legacy and values to the next generation.