Estate planning is more than just writing a will. True estate planning is about understanding you as a person – your values, your family, your life achievements.
Good estate planning begins early in life and should take a holistic view of how you live and how you plan for the future. This can include a variety of tools, from retirement accounts and life insurance policies, to wills, trusts, health care proxies, durable powers of attorney, charitable giving, etc. It is important to work with a professional who thoroughly understands these tools and how each can be used to best provide for you and your family.
Our firm has nearly a century of experience providing high-caliber and thoughtful estate planning guidance to our clients, many of whom we have advised across multiple generations. Our attorneys practice predominantly in Massachusetts, but through strong relationships with local attorneys across the country we are able to assist clients in many different states. We also regularly provide local estate planning counsel for clients living abroad who have U.S.-based assets.
Although we are a small firm, we have the resources and the expertise to handle sophisticated estate planning objectives, including the drafting of complex trust instruments, corporate succession planning, and the establishment of charitable foundations. With the benefit of our in-house tax practice, we're able to anticipate and mitigate tax consequences throughout the estate planning process.
With each new client we work hard to build a strong and lasting relationship. After getting to know you and your goals, our attorneys work closely with you to identify appropriate estate planning options and provide you with informative, expert advice. We help you develop an effective estate plan strategy that will give you peace of mind knowing that your future and that of your family is provided for.
Though every client’s individual process will vary depending on complexity, we typically proceed along the following path:
1. Initial Consultation
We provide a complimentary consultation to prospective clients where we can get to know you, and, more importantly, you can get to know us and evaluate whether we meet your criteria for serving as your attorneys. We will discuss your goals, any prior estate planning you’ve completed, and answer your questions about our firm, our attorneys, and our process. It’s important to note that an initial consultation does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Within one week of our initial consultation, we will provide you with an engagement letter that outlines the services we can provide for you, our anticipated fees, along with general information about our firm’s policies and the attorney-client relationship. If you choose to work with us, you will sign and return our engagement letter, at which time you will become a client of our firm and the attorney-client relationship begins.
3. Information Gathering
An effective estate plan begins with understanding the stage you’re at in life today. We’ll provide you with a detailed questionnaire that helps us get to know you better, including information about your family, your current assets, and your profession. Obtaining a complete and accurate summary allows our attorneys to provide you the best advice.
Once you complete our estate planning questionnaire, our attorneys will review your answers and will schedule a call with you to discuss any follow-up questions and make sure that we understand your goals and objectives prior to having our first in-person planning meeting.
4. In-Person Planning Meeting
After reviewing your questionnaire and speaking with you about your goals, we will meet with you in person to present our preliminary plan. During this meeting we will outline the estate planning tools we believe will be the most effective for accomplishing your goals. We provide ample time for discussion and questions in order to make sure that we move forward in a way that reflects your objectives. This meeting typically lasts between one and two hours.
5. Document Drafting
Based on the feedback from our in-person planning meeting, our firm’s attorneys will draft your estate planning documents. We strive to complete your draft documents within three weeks of the in-person planning meeting, though complex instruments may take longer to prepare. We will always provide you with an estimate of drafting time following the in-person planning meeting.
6. Plan Review
We will provide you with your draft documents so that you may have time to review them at your convenience. As some estate planning documents can be complex and include dense language, we will work with you during the document review process so that you are comfortable that you understand how your estate plan works and so that you are confident it accomplishes your goals.
7. Final Document Signing
Upon your approval of your draft documents, we will prepare final copies and arrange for you to sign them. We provide all necessary services for document signing, including required witnessing and notarization. We will then scan your final documents, bind them, and provide you with original and digital copies. If you so desire, we can also arrange for long-term secure storage of your original documents.
& ASSOCIATED FEES
We will typically complete the above estate planning process in six to eight weeks from the date of engagement. Depending on complexity, our associated fees for completing a comprehensive estate plan for a married couple will generally range between $2,000 and $5,000, and between $1,500 and $3,000 for an individual. We work closely with our clients to operate in their required timeframe and stated budget, and we will always provide our total estimated fees before beginning any new work.
Our firm is happy to provide additional information on our process and associated billing practices. If you wish to schedule an initial consultation to discuss further, please send us a message using the form at the bottom of this page, or reach out to one of our attorneys directly using their contact information provided in their firm profile.
While the initial estate planning process may only last a matter of months, your estate plan will likely grow and evolve with changes and milestones in your life. Our attorneys will work alongside you to keep your plan current and will alert you to any changes in the law that could affect your planning objectives.
We take pride in the opportunity to serve many of our clients throughout their lives - to share in joyful moments and to provide support and counsel in times of hardship. We work on your behalf to make sure that you and your family are protected through all of life's many chapters. In addition to our estate planning services, we assist many of our clients in other aspects of their lives, including tax planning and preparation, business and real estate matters, and estate and trust administration.