At Elder Law of Omaha, P.C., L.L.O., we want people to feel comfortable with the idea of planning for end of life issues, and what happens after you are gone. We also know that it’s not always the easiest need for people to address. What we can tell you is that if you need a will, trust or any other documents and are unable to get started for one reason or another, it’s time to act. Procrastination mode will do you no good.
What we recommend is that you either get in touch with the attorney you already have or ask people whose judgment you respect to refer a lawyer to you. If you are still stumped about who to call and you reside in Omaha or the surrounding metro area, contact us.
The Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is free. As for what you’ll need in terms of documentation and advice, you may already know. Or you may need guidance in formulating a plan that fits your life and your family dynamics. In either case, perhaps we can help.
Typically, our initial consultation – which is intended as a get-acquainted session to see if we’re comfortable working together – generally lasts a half-hour to a hour. It is helpful to bring any existing wills, trusts and powers of attorney, a list of your beneficiaries’ addresses and birthdays, and the addresses of anyone who may act on your behalf such as potential guardians, agents, executors and trustees. If you have a financial balance sheet or detailed list of assets bring that, but usually a general idea of your assets, including insurance, is sufficient for the initial consultations.
If you want to bring your adult children, that’s fine with us. Since they’re probably a large part of the reason why you’re here, it wouldn’t really be right on our part not to welcome them here as well. At the end of our first meeting you can decide whether or not Elder Law of Omaha should prepare an Engagement Letter in anticipation of your hiring us. We will give you a clear idea of what to expect in terms of cost. If you’re not sure you want to hire us, then take the Engagement Letter home without signing it and get back to us if you wish. If you decide to proceed, then you sign the Engagement Letter and we will consult our calendars.
Getting Ready To Meet With Us
Ideally, estate planning can serve as a great catalyst to becoming organized. This is relatively easy for some people, a nightmare to others. Starting out you need at least a general picture of your assets, a list of beneficiaries and also a list of potential fiduciaries – people (or banks) who can act on your behalf in the event of death or incapacity.
The more you know about what you own, the more complete your estate plan can potentially be.
One way of getting organized prior to meeting a lawyer is go through a questionnaire. We have supplied an Intake Questionnaire. Please do not get hung up in the details of the questionnaire if it’s going to put off an actual meeting!
If it’s too daunting a task for you to get through a detailed questionnaire, then just collect a few things before going to meet with your attorney. Any existing estate planning documents that you have, especially trusts, along with your family and friends address book are good places to start. If you have a financial statement, bring that too. In most instances, you can get the ball rolling if you have at least a general idea of your assets. Your lawyer will tell you what else you need to move forward.
Knowing the general nature and extent of your assets is a basic requirement for competence to write a legally binding will or trust. The allegation of incapacity (along with undue influence) is a common reason to challenge an otherwise legally binding estate plan.
Although costs can vary depending on the unique situations and needs of individual clients, we feel it’s important to be as up-front as we possibly can be about what our services cost, no matter how much or how little someone may have.
If You Decide To Work With Us
Once we are hired with an Engagement Letter and have resolved any outstanding issues preventing us from getting started, we begin work on your documents/application. Once your documents or application is completed, we will meet at our office to sign your document(s). After you have signed your documents, we make copies. We give you the originals to put in a safe place (although it should still be accessible to others), and we give you a .pdf copy or hardcopy of it.
If you have questions about your plan, or trust administration, or anything else – then we are here to give you answers to the best of our abilities. We remain available to advise both you and the financial institutions on titling and beneficiary issues, without charge in most cases.
After our basic work is complete, please keep in touch. We hope to hear from you as your needs may change and generally recommend that clients review their plans at least every three to five years.