The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is “a little extra.” We decided early on that we would provide our clients with an exceptional and complete experience. That’s how our Vision Method came to be.

Free Public Workshops

Many of our clients first get to know us by attending one of our free public workshops held at our office to learn more about estate planning. While attendance at our workshops is not required to sign up for a Vision Meeting, we regularly receive feedback from attendees that they felt like it was well worth the investment of time and helped them feel better prepared for their first appointment.

Your Vision Meeting

Your first one-on-one appointment with our office is called a Vision Meeting. One of our friendly Client Welcome Specialists will assist you with scheduling your Vision Meeting and walk you through how to prepare for your meeting.

Preparing for Your Vision Meeting

In preparation for your Vision Meeting, we’ll ask you to complete a one-page Vision Meeting Form and return it to us a week before your scheduled Vision Meeting along with any prior estate planning documents that you may have. You’re welcome to enclose any additional notes, financial statements, or information that you think will be beneficial.

The Vision Meeting Form asks for some basic information such as your name and age, whether you’re married or have children, whether you have prior planning, and a rough snapshot of your assets. This information is critical for a number of reasons:

  • Different assets are handled differently upon your death so this helps us assess potential probate issues or similar concerns;
  • Helping us identify potential capital gains tax, income tax, or estate tax issues so we can discuss applicable planning options;
  • Different assets are treated differently for purposes of government assistance such as veterans’ benefits or Medicaid for nursing home care—we use this information to help assess long-term care planning options; and
  • Different types of assets have varying degrees of asset protection from lawsuits, creditors, or nursing home expenses so this can help us asses your potential exposure to these concerns.

Your information is reviewed by our legal team and our Estate Planning Manager. Our legal team prepares several illustrations for your Vision Meeting to help spot challenges and opportunities such as:

  • Estimates of the size and composition of your estate that would be subject to probate expenses and taxes, and which of those expenses are avoidable;
  • If you’re age 50 or older, illustrations relating to future long-term care costs;
  • If you have more than $500,000 in pre-tax retirement plans, “stretch out” illustrations to illustrate that with planning and tax strategies to maximize the retirement plans which could be worth millions to your beneficiaries.

If you have prior planning documents that you submit with sufficient time to review in advance of your Vision Meeting, a member of our legal team will complete an Estate Planning Document Review Checklist that highlights some of the most common issues that we see on a regular basis.[1]

What happens during the Vision Meeting?

A Vision Meeting is when we get to know more about you and your family—the things that aren’t easily conveyed on paper. What keeps you up at night? What hopes and dreams do you have for your family?

Through conversation and a series of thought-provoking questions, we help guide you through the process of figuring out your “vision” for your planning—what is really important to you? What do you want your plan to accomplish?

We’ve worked hard to strip out as much of the legal “mumbo jumbo” out of this meeting as possible and discuss in plain English—what do you want for your and your family’s future?

Based on your goals, our Estate Planning Manager will review planning options with you that align with your identified goals.

The fees for our plans are based upon the type of planning and the value and complexity of the planning. Rest assured that our fees are not based on the size of your estate, but rather, are directly based on the type of planning needed to meet the specific goals that you identify during the Vision Meeting. All of our foundational planning options are offered on a flat fee basis so they’ll be no surprises.

Advanced Wealth Protection Planning is handled on a case-by-case basis and often starts with foundational planning, but may also include hourly billing to perform a more in-depth tax or asset protection analysis, or the planning may be broken into stages (e.g., begin with in-depth wealth protection analysis followed by a separate implementation stage) with separate fees for each stage.

When is a Vision Meeting not appropriate?

A Vision Meeting is not intended to be a legal consultation for specific legal advice. If you are looking for specific legal information or advice, we do offer standalone legal consultations for a consultation fee.

For example, when we receive phone calls from a concerned spouse or adult child who wants to discuss long-term care issues for his or her loved one, we may suggest that a legal consultation would be a better place to start rather than a Vision Meeting.

Similarly, a Vision Meeting is not for making specific decisions about your plan such as who will get what and who will serve in specific roles. The purpose of the Vision Meeting is to help you identify your goals and what type of planning fits your needs. After your Vision Meeting, you will have a separate Design Meeting with an attorney to discuss the who, what, where, when, and how of your planning. Your design lawyer will confirm that you have selected the right planning for your goals and will provide guidance to help you shape the plan.

Don’t worry. Our friendly Client Welcome Specialists will help you figure out if a Vision Meeting is a good place to start or if a legal consultation may be a better option.

Wrapping Up the Vision Meeting

At the conclusion of your Vision Meeting, your Estate Planning Manager will discuss planning options with you based upon your goals and the process involved to implement your plan.

The Estate Planning Manager will then review our Privacy Policy and Engagement Agreement with you, and will assist you with scheduling your Design Meeting with one of our Estate Planning attorneys. Please know that we do require a deposit to schedule your Design Meeting so that we can begin preparing for your Design Meeting. The Client Relationship will discuss this with you in detail.

Our Guarantee

Our plans even come with a guarantee! The state bar won’t allow us to guarantee a specific outcome for your plan, but we are committed to making sure that our services meet our clients’ expectations. That’s why we offer the following guarantee:

We promise you will receive competent legal services, to the best of our abilities. At any time between now and 60 days after your Signing Meeting, you are not completely satisfied with our services, we ask that you, 1) please tell us immediately, and 2) give us an opportunity to make it right. If we cannot make it right, we will refund 100% of your fee.

While it is rare, from time-time-time, based on additional information disclosed during your Design Meeting, your attorney may recommend changing the type of planning that you selected. If that’s the case, your attorney will discuss the reason for the change to the plan, and with your agreement, your Engagement Agreement and fee will be adjusted accordingly.

After the Vision Meeting

See to read more about Carolina Family Estate Planning’s Vision Method for estate planning.

Secrets of How to Choose a Will or Trust Lawyer

We’ve all seen them: Lawyer ads. They all seem to brag about the same tired things—decades of combined experience, promises of “free consultations,” and how much the “care.” So what?

You owe it to yourself and your family to do your research before you do your estate planning. The reality is that most people don’t know how to compare law firms. It’s easy to just think that you “just need a Will” and that all Wills are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Get the insider secrets you need to know before hiring a law firm for your will or trust. Inside this guide, you’ll learn a simple six-step process for choosing your attorney so you can have peace of mind that you’ve made the best decision for you and your family.

To get started, download our guide, How to Choose a Will or Trust Lawyer, or call our office at 919-443-3035 to schedule a Vision Meeting and we’ll mail you a copy with your Vision Meeting confirmation.


[1] Please note that the Estate Planning Document Review is not intended as specific legal advice. Because it is performed before your Vision Meeting, we do not have enough specific information about your goals to offer formal legal advice. The Estate Planning Document Review is intended to highlight common planning issues you may wish to explore further such as dated or out-of-state documents and similar.