At Simmons & Schiavo, we emphasize personal counseling and an ongoing relationship. This is the foundation of our LEGACY Planning Process.
Step One: Learning About You
The first step in our LEGACY process is Learning About You. We begin by sending you a Personal Information Form for you to fill out and return to our office. We ask that you do the best you can to complete it — don’t worry if you don’t have answers to every item. We will then get together for your Initial Consultation. During this meeting, we’ll take an hour or two to gain a deeper understanding of your needs, goals and planning objectives…and work with you to outline a plan that will be right for you and your family.
Step Two: Exploring the Details
The next step in our Legacy Process is Exploring the Details, which is done during a Design Meeting. Having outlined a plan at your initial consultation, we now work together to decide the important details of your estate plan, such as: who will inherit your assets — and under what terms; possible tax implications for your estate and beneficiaries; the people who you choose to be your decision makers and other fine points specific to your family situation. By the end of this meeting, we will have a thorough understanding of your personal concerns and planning objectives.
Step Three: Generating Your Plan
The third step in our Legacy process is Generating Your Plan. With the information we have gathered from the Design Meeting, our office will move forward to draft all of the legal documents necessary to implement your plan. We’ll prepare a Confirmation of Fiduciaries and Trust Summary listing the names of your decision makers and providing a detailed outline of your trust. It is important that you review these so that we can answer any questions or make any necessary revisions before your next appointment.
Step Four: Activating Your Plan
The fourth Legacy step is Activating Your Plan. Once we’ve drafted your estate planning documents, we’ll get together for our third meeting, which we call the Estate Plan Signing Meeting. We’ll take about an hour to go through your plan in detail, explaining the function of each document as well as how the documents relate to each other. Once we’ve explained everything and answered any last questions, you’ll sign the documents so that we can put your comprehensive Estate Plan into action.
Step Five: Coordinating Your Assets
The fifth step in our Legacy process is Coordinating Your Assets. Immediately following the signing meeting, we’ll initiate the “Trust Funding” or “Asset Alignment,” phase of your planning, which is one of the most critical aspects of the estate planning process. The transfer of your Massachusetts real estate into the trust is included as part of our Legacy process and fee agreement. We’ll provide you with detailed instructions for all your other assets, so that you’ll be able to complete the proper funding of your estate plan. We can also make separate arrangements for any clients who want our office to complete the full funding of their estate plan.
Step Six: Yearly Review
The final and most important step is a Yearly Review. As part of your participation in our LEGACY planning process, you will receive a one-year enrollment in the Simmons & Schiavo Continuing Care Program, which includes, among other benefits, a one-year review of your Plan.
In order for your plan to most effective, it must be kept up to date. Over time, there will be changes in your family and there will be changes in the law. Your plan needs to reflect these changes. Maintaining your membership in our Continuing Care Program will help ensure that you will achieve Your Goals through our ongoing commitment to Your Plan.
Whether your goal is to minimize estate taxes, protect your assets from long-term care/nursing home costs, avoid probate, shield your assets from your children’s creditors, plan for the financial needs of a loved one with special needs or to address any other personal or family situation, we will design and implement a plan that is custom-tailored to meet those specific goals.
We will work together to complete your plan. Moving through the LEGACY process takes time and effort on both our parts. As a team, we will create and implement an estate plan that provides you with the peace of mind knowing that Your Goals will be met by Your Plan.