Free One-Half Hour Trust Funding Consultation For Clients for Whom We Have Prepared Revocable Trust Agreements and Who Are Serving as Their Own Trustee or Co-Trustee
(Special Client Offer - Good For One Conference Only)
By Michael J. Howell
For our clients for whom we have prepared Revocable Trust Agreements and who are serving as their own Trustee or Co-Trustee, we offer a free durable binder with an index for photocopies of all of your estate planning documents. It also helps document whether or not your trust has been fully funded and contains a detailed index for organizing your information. We will also provide you with a free three-hole punch, if you do not already have one.
We recommend that in addition to photocopies of your estate planning documents, that you place copies of the information in the binder for each of your assets, to document that the asset is properly titled in the name of your Trustee. You start with a copy of an asset summary sheet, which you can download below and fill out, and then place in the binder.
You can then place a copy of your bank and stock brokerage accounts statements in the binder, along with a copy of the deed to your house, title to your automobile(s), copies of life insurance policies and annuities with the latest beneficiary designations in the binder, and pension, IRA and 401(k) information, just to name a few. You also need to include information on your homeowner's and automobile liability insurance policies showing that the Trustee is insured. We recommend that you update the statements no less often than yearly.
We also strongly recommend that you obtain written confirmation every 2-3 years from your insurance companies, stock brokers, banks, and other companies with whom you have life insurance policies, annuities, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, or other pension type assets, as to whom the primary and contingent beneficiaries are. We have found that who our clients believe the beneficiaries to be, is often wrong when written confirmation is obtained. There are a variety of reasons why this can happen and you should not run the risk.
You should obtain written confirmation every 2-3 years unless it is automatically provided to you on a yearly or more frequent basis. You should never rely on information that is any older than 2-3 years.
We have found that clients who keep these estate planning binders up to date have quicker estate planning conferences and updates. Also, after your death, the settlement of your trust and/or estate should go more smoothly because your Personal Representative or Trustee has most of the information that is needed to get started right at their finger tips, which they can then provide to us. This can also save you, your estate, and your trust, legal fees, by reducing some of our time.
We have also found that our clients' families appreciate having the binder as a road map to the administration of the estate and/or the settlement of the trust. Similar considerations apply if you ever become disabled and someone needs to take over the management of your assets.
If you do not already have one of the binders, please call and let us know and we will have one ready when you arrive to pick up the binder. If needed, you can also schedule an appointment to bring in your documentation and we will go over the book and the information with you to make sure that it is up to date and you understand what needs to go into it.
The binder is free and so is up to one-half (1/2) hour of our time, if you first fill out an asset summary sheet and place as much back up documentation as you have, or can reasonably find, into the binder and drop it off at our office no less than 24 hours prior to the conference so that we can review it. Please keep in mind that you can only drop off photocopies. Our staff is not allowed to accept any original documents.
We have found that the conference is much more effective if we review the information prior to the conference. Otherwise, the one-half (1/2) hour of free conference time will not be nearly as productive. Any time after the one-half (1/2) hour that you need will be at our normal hourly rates. Please keep in mind that it will likely taken more thane one-half (1/2). We will credit you with the free time on the bill for the services.
The pre-conference review of the material, assuming there is nothing unusual or unexpected that doesn't take more than 15 minutes, is also free and is in addition to the one-half (1/2) hour of free conference time. Anything over 15 minutes reduces your one-half (1/2) hour of free conference time. If you are married, you will also need to re-sign our Conflict of Interest Memorandum for Clients Being Represented Jointly. Sometimes we refer to this as a Dual Representation Letter and you would have signed one at least when we first worked on your estate planning. These can be found in the returning client packages, or you can obtain one when we meet. One of our attorneys will also need to discuss the memorandum with both clients prior to any substantive conversations.
This website is intend for use in South Carolina, only. Although our attorneys are also licensed in Florida, this website is not intended for use in Florida.
No portion of this material should be construed as legal, accounting or financial advice. It is merely intended as general educational information and does not necessarily represent the planning that should be implemented in your particular situation.
Unless a speecific date is othewise given, all legal fees and/or special offers listed on this website are subject to change or being withdrawn at anytime without notice. However, once your appointment is made, we will honor the published fee for no less than 30 days.