The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way everyone does business. While we still love to see our clients in person, we’ve found that more often, folks ask to conduct their estate planning consult over Zoom.
Virtual appointments are different, for sure, but also offer a great opportunity to be more flexible. Still, it’s easy to be more casual about the whole thing when you’re doing it from home.
So, to ensure you get the most out of your Zoom Estate Planning Consult, we’ve put together seven tips for a great experience. Some are serious – some less so. But they are all worth keeping in mind as you prepare.
Make sure you have access to the key information your Estate Planner will need: existing estate documents; a snapshot of your current assets and net worth; contact information for beneficiaries and fiduciaries; and any agreements related to any businesses you may own.
At Ladimer Law, we ask all prospective clients to complete an intake form asking for this information prior to any consultation. This allows the attorneys to direct the conversation specifically to your situation versus a general conversation on estate planning topics.
Remember the attorney who told the judge he wasn’t a cat? Don’t be that guy. We’ve all had our names changed or filters applied by kids using our computer. Consider checking all of that before you log on. Or don’t – it might add some levity to the conversation if you show up as a unicorn.
If you have minor children (under 18 years old) or are considering having children, you should designate one or more guardians – including a successor in the event that the first guardian is unable or unwilling to serve. This is often one of the hardest conversations for parents to contemplate.
Another difficult conversation centers around what happens if you become incapacitated or require long-term care.
Put in the time to think about both of these issues before you get on the call. Or at the very least, don’t let your uncertainty about the issues, or desire to avoid thinking about them, delay doing your estate planning.
Zoom offers a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved in your Estate Planning Consult without having to coordinate everyone’s schedules to travel to an office. One person who should definitely be involved is your financial planner.
In an ideal world, your financial planner and estate planner should be working together to help you meet your financial goals and protect your assets. With a Zoom format for your estate planning consult, there’s no reason why you can’t bring both professionals together in the meeting. Check out our recent blog post on financial and estate planners working together to learn more about why this is a good idea!
Remember the news anchor who didn’t pay attention to camera angles and ended up reporting his story live on air without any pants on?
The great news about a Zoom Estate Planning Consult is you can “come as you are.” Wear pajama pants. Wear jeans. Wear shorts or a skirt. But definitely try to remember to wear pants to the meeting, or at the very least, angle your camera accordingly.
Take some time to prepare some questions ahead of your Estate Planning Consult. Have a list and include questions about the firm and their processes, as well as about your own circumstances. You may want to ask about gifting, estate tax planning, how to designate certain property (artwork, jewelry, collectibles) for specific family members, or whether you will need long term care insurance.
Overall, the more you prepare for your initial estate planning consult, the more value your attorney is going to be able to provide. Estate planning is important – and can protect your assets, ensure you have the care you need later in life, and help your family avoid long drawn-out probate proceedings later on. It also ensures that your wishes are honored after you’re gone. Do the legwork, be honest with your attorney, and wear your pants. You’ll be glad you did.
To learn more about our offerings and schedule a consult, please contact our office at 508-532-8689 today.
Copyright © 2023 Ladimer Law Office PC
209 West Central Street
Natick, MA 01760
Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.