Why Work With Us?
Before Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney, Understand The Difference
Many estate planning attorneys take a "one-size-fits-all" approach with their clients. They do this so that they can work with as many people as possible in a short period of time.
The problem is that the client has an impersonal experience, and worse than that, this way of planning can lead to unintended results in the long run for the family.
Consequences When Attorneys Don't Listen
When lawyers do not take the time to listen and consider your personal circumstances, the result is that your estate plan (typically not really a “plan” but simply a set of documents) does not end up reflecting what you and your family really want to happen or might think will happen.
And usually there is no regular plan review or updating that your attorney is doing for you, so your plan quickly becomes outdated and does not work when your family needs it most.
Even though you may pay less up front to get a standard set of documents (even if the documents might feel customized for your family), things end up much more expensive in the long run.
Plus, you leave your family at risk of having to deal with an expensive, unnecessary and public court process during a time of grief.
Cornerstone Estate Planning is right for you if you want to know that your plan will actually work when you and your loved ones need it the most.
If all you want is a set of legal documents, there are plenty of online resources you can use to create them or you can go to a traditional estate planning lawyer.
If what you want is to know you have a plan in place that will work when your family needs it, will keep the people you love out of court and out of conflict, and will keep your assets out of the hands of the government, then we might be the right fit for you.
Here Are Some Of The Ways We Are Different From Most Other Estate Planning Lawyers
All of our fees are fixed fees agreed to in advance. At our initial meeting you will choose the level of planning and fee that works best for your family, so there will never be any surprises.
We keep you informed and make sure your plan works when it is needed. We do not just prepare a set of legal documents for you and send you on your way. We make sure your assets are owned in the right way, we make sure your children’s well-being is properly planned for, and we ensure everyone you have named in your plan knows what to do if anything happens to you.
We review your plan at least every three years for all clients, and annually through our Family Wealth VIP Membership Program. We foster a lifetime, ongoing relationship with our clients. Throughout your life, things change: you change, your assets change, your family changes, and the law will definitely change. When planning with us, your plan will keep up with those changes.
We have a process for helping you make sure that your assets are titled in the right way, both now and over your lifetime, to make the planning process incredibly easy and painless for you and your family.
We help you get your legal and financial house in order by helping you make smart choices about things like buying insurance, saving for college, and planning for retirement so you never spend more than you have to or get taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales people.
We have been specially trained as a Personal Family Lawyer® to plan for your life and death, and to ensure that if you have minor children, they are never raised by anyone you wouldn't want or taken into the care of strangers. And if your children are adults, we help you weave them into your estate plan with care and forethought that most other lawyers simply do not have the training or inclination to do.
We specialize in legacy planning because it’s about a lot more than money. We believe that planning is about much more than just the transfer of your financial wealth. For each client, we walk you through a process to help you transfer your most important personal wealth to your loved ones, including your intellectual, spiritual and human assets - who you are and what’s important to you.
Before you engage an estate planning lawyer to help you plan for the well-being of your family and loved ones, there are questions you need to ask.
You need to ensure that the estate plan you put in place will really work when your family needs it and won’t end up just a pile of worthless paper after you are gone.
Do not let a set of legal documents become false security that keeps you from doing what’s best for your loved ones.
Our Planning Process
Peace Of Mind Is Here
We know that beginning your estate plan is a big step.
Our process is designed to ensure your confidence in the planning process each step of the way, and our planning process is the perfect combination of efficiency and warmth.
Every decision is carefully reviewed with you and yet the entire process stretches out only eight weeks. You can feel confident knowing that within two months of meeting with us, your family could be totally planned for, protected and not at risk of being stuck in court or conflict if something happens to you.
Your Initial Meeting: The Family Wealth Planning Session
Our planning process begins with your Family Wealth Planning Session.
This is your opportunity to get educated, informed and fully empowered to make the right decisions for the people you love. And together we have the opportunity to meet each other and ensure that working together is a good fit.
During your Family Wealth Planning Session, we will walk you through exactly what your loved ones would have to do and where your assets would go if something happened to you today.
You will then be able to determine if there was anything about what would happen today that you would not like and you will get clear on what you would want to happen instead.
If We Are A Good Fit...
Assuming there is a good fit between you and us, we will help you to choose the planning level and fee that is right for your family.
We have three different planning levels to accommodate your needs and YOU get to decide which planning level best protects you and your family.
Once you choose your planning level, we will then help you design a plan that will give you the peace of mind of knowing your family will be taken care of in the event the unthinkable happens.
Once your plan has been designed to your satisfaction, you will return to our office about a month later to sign your newly prepared estate plan. At this point, your family and your assets will be totally protected in the case of your death or incapacity.
In Most Law Firms, The Relationship Ends There
We see the signing of your estate plan as the beginning of our relationship with your family. This is where our law firm is very different.
After you sign your estate plan, we don’t simply send you on your way and wish you luck for the future.
Instead, we create an electronic record of all of your legal documents so you can easily access them anytime you need to in the future and then schedule our next meeting with you.
At this final meeting, one of the most important meetings of our process, we help you:
Ensure your assets are owned in the right way (you can have the best set of legal documents, but if your assets are not owned in the right way, it has all been a waste).
Make sure everyone you have named to take care of you, your children, and the money you are leaving behind knows just what to do if and when something happens.
Capture and plan for your intangible and most valuable assets: your values, insights, stories, and experiences that neither you nor your loved ones would ever want lost.
And this is where we make sure you understand everything we have put in place for you and your family.
Then, We Still Aren't Done!
We meet with you at least every three years to review your plan and make sure it stays up to date.
We do this because we know, and we have seen it many times in our industry, that if regular reviews of your estate plan are not happening, then your set of documents is very unlikely to work when your family needs them.
And if you choose to join our Family Wealth VIP Client Membership Program, we will meet together annually for a comprehensive plan review and update.
How To Get Started
Giving Your Family The Protection They Deserve
By now you have seen that we are different than your typical lawyer and because you love your family and want to keep them out of court and out of conflict when something happens to you, you are ready to take the first steps to get a plan in place.
You know your family deserves the kind of protection, guidance and love we provide for a lifetime.
Now, as you get started, it is important that you know how we work because we do things a bit differently here than at other law firms. That is why our clients love us so much.
Your Appointment Options
You have three options for your next step:
You can schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about us and get a few preliminary questions answer.
You can schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session and complete the pre-session homework so that you come in prepared to be educated, informed and make empowered decisions for the people you love.
You can schedule your Estate Plan Checkup and Review if you have an existing plan so that you can get educated on whether your existing plan still works for your family or if you have gaps that you must fill to have the peace of mind your family is covered.
How Long Is The Family Wealth Planning Session?
We block two hours on our calendar for your Family Wealth Planning Session and we can focus entirely on you and your family during this time.
In advance of your meeting, we will send you a package of information to review and complete before our time together, which will help you begin the process of getting your legal and financial life in order.
During your Planning Session, we will guide you to gently look at what would happen to your loved ones and with your assets if something were to happen to you today. And then we will look at what you want to happen instead and we will help you create a roadmap to get that plan in place as easily as possible.
After meeting with us, our clients routinely say “Wow, if we had known how easy this would be, we would have done it years ago!”
How Much Does The Family Wealth Planning Session Cost?
Our Family Wealth Planning Session is valued at $750, or if you have existing estate planning documents that you are wanting us to review and potentially incorporate, this meeting is valued at $950.
If during your Planning Session you choose to move forward and we help you design a comprehensive plan, your session fee is applied to the legal fee to create or update your estate plan. In some circumstances we will waive the planning session fee and instead you can secure your appointment time with a credit card number to hold your appointment time to the exclusion of others.
So long as you keep your appointment time as scheduled, nothing will be charged to your card. If you must cancel less than seven days prior your appointment, we ask that you do so at least one week ahead of time so that we may open our calendars to other waiting families.
We understand that this policy of securing your appointment with a credit card may seem unique. So is our law firm.
We provide our very best service to those families who are looking for a long-term relationship with their trusted advisor. We expend most of our energy providing an exceedingly high degree of service to our existing clients and we limit the number of new clients we see each week.
What To Do Prior To Your Family Wealth Planning Session
After scheduling your appointment, you will receive your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment and other important information that you will want to review and complete prior to your personal Family Wealth Planning Session.
Your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment is your pre-session “homework.”
We ask that you complete and return your homework to our office at least three days prior to your Planning Session so that we have time to review your information and provide the most valuable counsel we can during your Planning Session.
Feel free to call the office at any time if you need assistance completing your homework or if have any questions at all.
What To Expect The Day Of Your Family Wealth Planning Session
On the day of your meeting, please expect to spend up to two hours with us.
We have two goals at our meeting together:
Identify whether there is a good fit between you and us.
Educate you about what would happen today if something happened to you so that you know how you can design a different plan if desired.
By looking at what would happen under your current plan, you can identify what you would want to happen differently. Then together with our guidance you can make the decisions necessary (including choosing your own fee) to give you the peace of mind of knowing your family would stay out of court and out of conflict when something happens to you.
Assuming there is a good fit between our firm and your family AND that you identify specific ways you would want things to happen that are different than what would currently happen if something happened to you, we can design a plan for your family right away.
What Happens Next?
Once we have completed the design of your plan, we will review your assets for the purpose of ensuring that everything you own will be titled for maximum protection.
We will then schedule your Signing Ceremony for about a month later where you can sign your complete estate plan.
At your Signing Ceremony we have a process of reviewing your documents with you that makes your plan so easy to understand that you will know for certain that we understood exactly the way you want things to happen when something happens to you and that your loved ones will be in excellent hands with our firm.
Once you sign your your estate plan, your assets and your family are protected.
And we see this as only the beginning of our relationship. You may make changes to your planning documents at no charge for up to 90 days after you sign your plan.
at the final meeting during the planning phase of our relationship, we verify that all of your asset transfers are moving forward on track, whether we are taking the lead or you are taking the lead with our guidance.
We review your asset spreadsheet with you and ensure all of your questions are answered.
What Happens After I Take My Estate Planning Binder Home?
After you take your estate planning binder home with you, the maintenance phase of your plan will begin.
At no additional charge we will review your plan at least every three years and keep you informed about changes in the law and other issues that affect your family and your wealth.
If you participate in our Family Wealth VIP Membership Program, you will have an opportunity to review your plan every single year and enjoy a host of other amazing benefits like online access to your scanned estate planning documents, discounted or complimentary updates to your estate plan, and so much more.
Finally, we are always here for you and we do not charge you for phone calls or emails.
You'll be amazed at how easy and painless the entire planning process will be for your family and we would love to meet with you for your Family Wealth Planning Session soon.
Congratulations. I'm assuming you made it to this page because you want to talk with us about how you can keep your family out of court or out of conflict when something happens to you, or maybe you would like to discuss your business.
Or maybe you are the family member or close friend of a loved one, and something has happened and now you need advice. If so, our hearts are with you, and we will do our best to help you keep things as simple and easy as possible.
There are three options for you to get our support.
Choose the one that's best for you:
Ask Cornerstone Estate Planning to speak at your local business or your next group event. Choose the topic that works best for you:
Kids Protection Plan Presentation
Guardian Nomination Workshop
Asset Protection Planning
Special Needs Planning
Something Special For Your Group? Just Ask!