Are you interested in scheduling an estate planning meeting, but not sure what to expect? In Siedentopf Law’s latest video, Georgia estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf walks you through the initial consultation and estate planning process.
TRANSCRIPT: Good morning. I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. So you’re thinking about contacting me. What should you expect? Here’s a look into the way I work. First of all, you make the appointment. Maybe you called, maybe you emailed, maybe you clicked the link on my email and set up an appointment online. But, we have an appointment. Our appointment could be on the phone, it could be in my office, or it could be on a video. I’m starting video conferencing and I’m very excited about it, and the fact that you’re watching this video now suggests that might be a good option for you. You have an appointment — what do you expect? You’ll come into my office or come into my video conference ready to talk. I’ll ask all sorts of questions: who all of your family members are, what relationships you have, who you’d like to have the kids, whether you trust them with money. So maybe you want a different person to have control of the money and from the person who is the guardian of your children. Do you need things to be in a trust? How do we need to have this set up? It tends to be a long meeting, it usually takes the full hour, and sometimes runs a little farther. If you have current estate planning documents, bring them in. What does your current will say? Do you have a trust? If you have a trust, definitely bring the trust in, I need to see it, because maybe we need an amendment, or maybe we need to get rid of the whole thing. But we have our first meeting, I’ll answer all of your questions. At the end of that time, I’ll present you with a piece of paper. It’ll tell you which documents I’m recommending and what the price is. At that point, you can say “This looks great. I want to sign up right now,” and that makes me happy. Or, you can take it home and think about it. Or, you can take it home and not sign it. Once you have signed the agreement and paid half of the document fee, I get started on your documents. Almost always, I have questions. I get started and I think, “Hey, I forgot to ask this.” So I might email you, I might call you. Then I’ll send you drafts. It’s usually three to four weeks from the time you’ve signed the agreement, and you’ll look at the drafts. Did I spell everything right? Have you made any changes? You’ve thought about it, and no, that’s really not a good idea, let’s do something different. I’ll make the changes. Once you’re happy with it, we’ll set up an appointment for the signing. For the signing, you’re going to need two witnesses and a notary to make sure everything’s done legally. So, I usually do signings about a week out from the day we plan it — or father out. But, I need to actually make sure that I have witnesses for you. So, you’ll come into the office. We’ll take one last glance over everything. We’ll do a bunch of initialing, because some of the documents require a bunch of initialing. And then we’ll sign in front of two witnesses, and I’ll notarize it. Usually from the time people come in, it’s about a six week process, from start to actually taking home your documents. At any point, you can call me, email me, ask questions — it’s a flat fee, so questions are encouraged. You don’t pay anything extra for time spent contacting me. And afterward, if you have any questions about the documents, about maybe whether you need to change something, or you decided you would like to give your bank the power of attorney and they’re hassling you, what do you do about that, give me a call. But that, in a nutshell, is what an appointment for estate planning looks like with me. And, if you’d like to check it out, please let me know.
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