About the Firm
Our attorneys and staff have over 120 years of combined legal support experience and are qualified to represent you in all estate planning needs, including special needs trusts and guardianship proceedings. Whether you need help to complete a Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy or wish to create a Trust to avoid lengthy probate issues, insulate your assets from Nursing Home costs and/or to avoid paying unnecessary taxes on the transfer of assets, all you have to do is call our professional lawyers
Our Complete Planning Process
Step 1 – Concept Meeting – 60 minutes
When you first meet our team, we sit down with you for a free consultation. Before this meeting, we send you a two-page packet for you to fill out so we can get a general idea of your family dynamics and the nature and extent of your assets. We review the packet with you and have a conversation about your family and goals. Whether you are making your first estate plan or looking to protect your assets as you head into retirement, we will explain what your options to you. We find it helpful to literally draw plan out in front of you, so you get a grasp of how specific plans work and why we believe they best fit your goals.
After this meeting, we send you home with the drawing(s) so you can think about what plan will help you accomplish your goals. You are also sent home with a list of required documents and questions to answer to help develop your plan. These questions include specific gifts to loved ones and roles your family will play in your plan. We understand that you may not understand
every concept during our first meeting and that is completely normal. During each meeting, we hope that we can help you understand these concepts little by little, so you become confident with the estate plan that best fits you and your family.
Step 2 – Build/Design – 60 minutes
After you have had a few weeks to think about your options, we meet with you again to build your plan. Before we start building your plan, we answer any questions that you might have thought of between meetings and review concepts that you may not have understood the first time around. Our goal here is to give you more confidence in choosing the best plan.
During this meeting, we start building your estate plan based on the questions we sent you home with after the Initial meeting. We will be taking note of what specific gifts you want to give at your passing, who will make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them on your own, and most importantly, who will make legal and financial decisions for you to protect your assets. If you are building a Trust, you will also be assigning important roles for that as well. Finally, we will decide who will receive the assets, you worked so hard to acquire and build, at your death, and how they will receive them.
We also ask you to bring in any statements you have for your assets and any other property information you have. Bringing in statements is an important step because it lets our office know what assets you would like to protect or give to loved ones. Based on the statement you give us, we will create a spreadsheet in order to keep track of how your assets grow and evolve.
Step 3 – Signing – 90 minutes
This step is where your plan starts coming together. The length of the meeting depends on whether you are doing a Trust plan or a Will plan. We will have each document drafted to review and sign. We will walk through these documents with you to make sure that everything from the previous meeting is correct. We also review the terms of each document, so you completely understand what you are signing. You will execute each document before witnesses and a notary to complete legality.
Step 4 – Funding – 30 minutes
This step is what sets us apart from other firms that practice in this area. If you are signing a Trust, we will also add your real estate to the Trust as well as any change of ownership and beneficiary forms prepared to be signed and mailed out. If there are changes that you need to make on your own, we send you home with a letter and a checklist from our office with instructions on
how to make them. We make sure these documents are signed and you are properly advised before you leave because we want to ensure that your Trust is properly funded. This part is critical to make your funding properly if you go to a nursing home or at your death.
Step 5 – Funding Review – 60 Minutes
A Funding Review meeting is held about 6-8 weeks after you sign your documents. This gives you, the insurance company, and your financial advisor plenty of time to process your documents and send you confirmations. When you start receiving confirmations in the mail that the Trust is the new owner and/or beneficiary of your assets, we ask that you collect and organize
these documents. You should bring these confirmations with you to this meeting so we can properly update your “Funding Table.” The Funding Table is an evolving document that keeps track of your assets as time passes. More importantly, the Funding Table will provide a date as to when your asset goes into the Trust. This is especially important with an Irrevocable Trust because
it will remind you of when the “’five-year clock” has started in regard to protecting a specific asset from Nursing Home costs.
Step 6 – Family Meeting – 60 minutes (Optional)
We believe it is important that your family and loved ones are properly informed of your estate plan. It is important because any surprises or secrets could lead to conflicts down the road. Our solution to any future problems is having a family meeting to review what your estate plan is and why it is important. This meeting is completely optional but is included in your plan price.
This meeting is very similar to the initial meeting; we draw out your plan for your family without sharing the value of your assets. We explain how your plan works both while you are alive and after your passing. We also tell your family “the jobs” you assigned them and what is expected of them if needed.
When the whole family is on board of your plan, everything feels like they are part of the team. When your team knows what your goals are and how they can help, minds will become more at ease if and when an emergency occurs.
Building your estate plan can be confusing. Our goal with this process is to put your mind at ease and ensure that your future goals are met. We work with you each meeting to make sure that you completely understand what your plan entails and why each step is important. Hilton Estate & Elder Law also takes the extra step of ensuring your Trust is properly funded so you are not left on your own. If you are ready to take control of your future, call us today and our experienced attorneys will help get you started