5. How long is the estate-planning process?
I usually book appointments two weeks in advance, so that people have time to put together materials to
bring to the initial meeting. Then, after the Client returns the Engagement Letter and advance payment, there often will be another meeting to work through the major points, after which drafts are prepared, discussed, and revised as needed, often by phone or email, related documents are prepared, follow-up tasks identified, and the signing date arranged. Assuming reasonably prompt responses, the process normally takes about a month to six weeks. If there is a short deadline, such as a travel date or unexpected medical procedure, I will make best efforts to accommodate it.
Sometimes, people call and ask me to prepare documents immediately, usually because someone is going into surgery or has some other emergency. But unless it is a former Client or for other reasons I already know the background, I ordinarily will decline, because it is not going to be possible to prepare adequately, and I don’t want to be criticized later by the Client or family for pulling something together without learning facts that could have changed my advice or drafting.