Once you have selected a planning option and engaged our firm’s services, the planning process falls into three general stages:
The Design Phase
During the Design Phase we will:
- Guide you in designing the blueprint for your plan
- Explain the various roles and aspects of the plan to help you make smart decisions about the design of your plan
- Discuss any existing or “what if” concerns you may have for your loved ones such as difficult family dynamics, financial instability or immaturity, health or marital concerns, and so forth
- Help you design the plan to address any such concerns.
Of course, everything discussed is confidential and privileged, so it’s a safe environment for open discussion.
Along the way, we may use stories, examples, drawings, or visual aids to help explain relevant points and guide you through the design process.
For most of our foundational planning options, the design phase can be completed in a single Design Meeting. However, some planning options may require additional meetings to complete the design process.
When you are ready, we’ll begin designing your plan. The planning options are virtually infinite, but together we’ll use the information gathered in the first half of the meeting to design a plan that best fits your goals, objectives, and family dynamics. Along the way, I’ll use stories and examples to educate you about the relevant points of law and guide you through the design process.
For some clients, we will need to schedule a second Design Meeting to complete the design process. About three to four weeks after the completion of the Design phase, you’ll return to our office for your Signing Meeting.
The Implementation Phase
The Implementation Phase begins with a Signing Meeting to review and sign the various documents drafted based on the decisions made during the design phase.
Next, your plan must be properly integrated with your insurance and finances. Our Funding Coordinator will help you with the process of updating the titling and beneficiary designations on your accounts so that everything is integrated to work as a cohesive plan. This is a critical part of the planning process that is often neglected. If the title and beneficiary designations on your accounts are not set up correctly, your plan will not work!
The Continuation Phase
Once you have completed the Implementation Phase, it’s important to ensure your plan continues to stay current with your goals, circumstances, and the latest laws and trends.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” While many want to think of estate planning as a “one and done” kind of thing, the reality is that life moves quickly these days and the best-laid plans need to be reviewed and updated periodically.
That’s why we offer the option to participate in our VIP Inner Circle Program. Participation is optional, however many of our clients love that for a flat annual fee they have ongoing access to our office for quick questions relating to their plan, word-processing changes to their plan, continued access to assistance from our Funding Coordinator if they need help with proper titling or beneficiary designations on new accounts, and more.
Even if you do not enroll in the VIP Inner Circle program, we’ll continue to send your our newsletter to keep you in the loop about current event at the office and topics of interest.
If you’re ready to get started, give us a call at (919) 443-3035!
At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we
help people build better lives by
planning for a secure future,
protecting and building wealth, and
creating lasting legacies.