At Peach State Wills and Trusts, we want to make estate planning as easy and stress free as possible for our clients. What sets us apart from other firms is our simplified and streamlined process. Below, we've outlined each step that you will take to complete your planning. We believe that knowing what to expect during your estate planning process will give you the confidence to tackle this important legal need with confidence and protect yourself and your loved ones.
The Initial Call
Once you've found our website, or been referred to us by a friend, family member, or professional, your first step is reach out to us. You can do this via phone or via our website. If you choose to give us a call at (678) 344-5342, a member of our staff will take a few minutes to speak with you about your estate planning goals, and tell you more about the services we offer and our pricing. If you prefer, you can send us a message through our website by clicking on the ‘Contact' tab and filling out the appropriate information. We will then give you a call as soon as possible to discuss your estate planning needs and our services.
During our initial call, if we both think we would be a good fit to work together, we will offer to send you our Estate Planning Questionnaire. This questionnaire asks about your family, your assets, your preferences for your Will, Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive for Healthcare, and more. We will use the completed questionnaire at your first appointment to build your plan. Don't worry, there are no strings attached to this document. Whether you are ready to schedule with us or still weighing your options, we believe looking over the questionnaire will give you a better understanding of the planning process and what to expect.
Along with the questionnaire, we will also send you our Guide to Estate Planning in Georgia, which gives on overview of the three essential planning documents in Georgia, and why every adult needs these documents in place. You can also request this guide on our website by clicking the Free Info tab and filling out the contact form.
Scheduling Your Appointment
If you are ready to schedule with us during our initial call, we will coordinate a date and time for your first meeting, which we call our Georgia Family Protection Strategy SessionSM. If after speaking with us you are still not ready to schedule, that's okay! We will send you the documents (remember, there is no obligation and no strings attached!), and you can look them over and decide on your next steps. If you decide you are ready to schedule, give us a call and we will get you on the calendar.
The Georgia Family Protection Strategy SessionSM
Our first meeting is called our Georgia Family Protection Strategy Session. Prior to the meeting, we will ask that you complete your questionnaire and email it back to us, so that we can get a head start on familiarizing ourselves with you and your situation. At the meeting, which typically lasts between an hour and an hour and a half and can be done in our office or via Zoom, you will sit down with us and work through your questionnaire to build your Will, Power of Attorney, Advance Directive for Healthcare, and Revocable Living Trust (if you choose to use one). You will discuss your goals, how you want distribute your assets, your end of life medical treatment preferences, who you would trust make medical and financial decisions on your behalf, and more.
You may discuss some things you wouldn't expect or have not considered. For example, you may want your assets to be passed down to your children, but what about if a child dies before you? What would you want to do with their share of the assets? Should it be split between your other children, given to that child's spouse, or to their descendants, or given to someone else entirely? This is also the time to discuss any concerns you have about your plan, perhaps due to complicated family situations, strained relationships, or other anticipated difficulties. We will advise you on the wisest way to handle these issues, and make sure that your plan will serve your best interests. This meeting will be very thorough to ensure that no matter what situations arise, your estate plan reflects your wishes.
At the end of this meeting, you will sign a letter of engagement, which simply states that you have contracted with us to complete your estate planning. After signing this document, we will have formed an attorney-client relationship. We will also handle payment at this appointment.
Drafting and Reviewing Your Documents
After your Georgia Family Protection Strategy SessionSM, we will use the information from your meeting to draft your estate planning documents. We will then send them to you for review, via email, post, or both, at your preference. At this point you need to carefully review each document, ensuring that it reflects you wishes and that all information including names and contact information for those mentioned is correct. If you have any questions about your plan, or if you have any corrections to make, send us an email or give us a call to discuss. We will make any necessary revisions, and once you approve the documents, we will schedule a signing appointment.
Signing Your Documents
The signing appointment typically lasts about half an hour, and must be done in person. At the appointment, you will first complete any necessary initialing on your documents. Then, your Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Healthcare will be signed by you, one witness, and a notary public. Then, your Will will be signed by you and two witnesses, and the included self-proving affidavit will be signed by you, the witnesses, and a notary. If you have a Revocable Living Trusts in your plan, it will be signed, witnessed, and notarized as well. We will provide the witnesses and notary to make the process easy.
Once your documents have been properly signed, you plan is legally in place. You could walk out of our office and use any of our documents that day if needed (though we hope you won't have to!). Before you go, we will prepare a binder for you to take home containing the originals and copies of your documents, and we will email you pdf scans. We will also spend some time discussing how to use your documents when the time comes, why you should review them periodically, how to safely store them, and discuss the benefits and risks of sharing details of your plan with others and giving out copies of your documents.
After this meeting, your planning is complete and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your family is protected. A few days after your signing session you will receive a letter from us ending our attorney-client relationships now that your services are complete. But don't worry—if you ever have questions or concerns about your plan, you can always give us a call and we will be happy to help.
If You Aren't Local…
Remember, though our offices are in Gwinnett County, we can help Georgia residents across the state with their estate planning needs. From Hiawassee to Valdosta and everywhere in between, Peach State Wills and Trusts can help you protect yourself and your loved ones with a custom estate plan. If you aren't local to our office, we can do our Georgia Family Protection Strategy SessionSM via Zoom, and most of the process above will look the same, except for the signing appointment.
You are always welcome to make the trip to our office to do the signing in person with us, but if this is inconvenient for you, we can mail you your documents along with detailed instructions on how to properly sign, witness, and notarize them. In a nutshell, you will need two impartial witnesses, who are not mentioned in any part of your plan, as well as a notary public. You can typically find a notary at your bank, or a local law or accounting firm. If you're having trouble finding a notary, let us know and we can help. Once you have these people assembled, you will simply follow the instructions we give to properly complete the signing.
We'll Keep In Touch
After you have completed your planning with Peach State Wills and Trusts, we will still keep in touch with you. You can expect to receive our email and print newsletters, as well as periodic communications reminding you to review your documents from time to time. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your plans, don't hesitate to give us a call at (678) 344-5342. We're always here to help.