By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
― Benjamin Franklin

 

The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.
―Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

I want to control my property while I am alive, take care of me and my loved ones if I become disabled, and give what I have, to whom I want, the way I want, and when I want, and if I can, I want to save court costs, professional fees, and taxes.
― Esperti Peterson Institute 1993

Getting Started

By now you’ve seen that Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. is something special and because you love your family, you know your family deserves the kind of protection, guidance and love we provide for a lifetime. It’s important that you know how we work because we do things a bit differently than at other law firms. That’s why our clients love us so much.

What to Expect When You Plan with Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C.

We have established procedures and protocols which enable us to work with our clients in effective, efficient, and pleasant ways. While each client and estate plan differ, this is designed to give you an idea of how we can work together.

Core Estate Plans

Core estate plans consist of revocable living trusts and/or wills along with appropriate ancillary documents such as durable financial powers of attorney and the suite of health care documents.

1. Estate Plan Analysis/Discovery Session (1.5-2.0 hours)

Call our office (301) 654-2330 or email Lena at lenabplans@lenabarnett.com to schedule your Discovery Session.

Prior to the Discovery Session you will receive our Estate Plan Design Worksheet. This document will enable proper preparation for the Discovery Session so we can spend our time on important planning issues rather than information gathering. We request we receive the completed document a few days before the Discovery Session.

Through skillful questioning and thoughtful listening, we will seek to understand your specific needs and desires. The Discovery Session is when we discuss how estate planning, generally, and Lena & Associates, L.L.C., specifically, can help you and your family plan for the unknown. By the end of this session, you will understand what happens if you fail to plan or have an outdated plan. You will also understand what happens if you continue with Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. The Estate Plan Design Session may also begin during this stage.

You will receive a letter which covers the subjects discussed during the Discovery Session. It is designed to help you further understand & refine your estate plan.

Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. will accept engagements when it is clear that we can help our clients obtain their planning objectives and dreams in a timely, effective, and pleasant fashion. Based on your objectives and circumstances, we formulate the parameters of the engagement including fees, deadlines, and responsibilities.

In most instances, we charge flat fees. Certain types of engagements may be handled on an hourly basis. In these cases, we will inform clients of the terms of such engagements in advance. Sometimes we will place a cap on these fees or include them as part of a contractual fee, again depending on the client’s particular set of circumstances.

We do not negotiate billings, preferring instead to enjoy meaningful and long-standing relationships that leave it to our clients to measure the value of our services.

We know intimately the degree of our efforts and caring on behalf of our clients and client families. We expect our clients to pay our fees on a timely basis, and to feel good about doing so, just as we feel good about giving our commitments of time, effort, and caring to our clients and client families.

2. The Estate Plan Design Call (.5-2 hours)

At this stage you have realized the importance of estate planning and you believe Lena Barnett & Associates is the firm for you. We will commence, or as in most cases we will continue, the Estate Plan Design Process.

This entails consultation with you and your professional advisors regarding the design of your plan. During this phase we will assist you with the decision-making process relating to both the general and specific aspects of your plan. We will further refine your plan based upon your input and your thoughtful decisions. After all, your plan should reflect you, your family, and your planning needs, dreams and aspirations.

3. Document Presentation & Signing Ceremony (2.0-3.0 hours)

Given the pandemic we are taking steps to protect the health and safety of our clients and ourselves. We now send pdfs of draft documents to our clients which we discuss prior to the Signing Ceremony. In most cases the Draft Document Call takes place within a few weeks of the Discovery Session. During this call we make sure that the plan, as drafted, meets your goals. We will also discuss & send the protocols for the Signing Ceremony.

The Signing Ceremony, takes places within a few days of the Draft Document Call.

Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. has drafted your estate plan, but only you can make it legally enforceable. Estate, probate, and fiduciary law is riddled with arcane legal technicalities. During this meeting we ensure your documents conform to legal requirements.

4. Estate Plan Funding Call/Meeting (.5 to 1.0 hours)

During the call, we will address questions you have with regard to retitling of assets and beneficiary designations to ensure the effectiveness of your plan.

5. Estate Plan Reviews & Planning in the Future

As our lives and the law change, so must our estate plans. This is why Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. provides all clients with a number of estate plan review options. Estate plan reviews are critical to the effectiveness of your estate plan.

Estate Plan Reviews & Annual Maintenance Programs

“Estate planning is a process, and not an event.”

In addition to preparing your estate plan, Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. is your professional partner in ensuring your plan will reflect your ever-changing needs, desires, intentions and goals, and give you the confidence that your plan will work when you cannot speak for yourself. For better or worse, the only constant in your life is change. Your estate plan documents are static documents executed on a specific date. However, as time goes on your family changes, your finances change, your relationships change, your goals and objectives change, and the laws change. Your estate plan needs to take those changes into account.

Through our Annual Maintenance Programs, Lena Barnett & Associates, L.L.C. stands with you through these changes to ensure that your estate plan always reflects where you are today and what you want for tomorrow.

The Annual Maintenance Program includes an annual private consultation to discuss any changes affecting the goals of your estate plan, including acquiring new assets, changes in the value of your assets, changes regarding who will serve as your minor child’s guardian, and changes in beneficiaries. These changes could have drastic consequences on your taxable estate, your beneficiaries, and whether your estate is subject to probate. All of our Annual Maintenance Program clients receive the following benefits:

  • An annual two-hour consultation to review your estate plan.
  • A review of your estate plan for technical amendments necessitated by changes in law and tax codes.
  • Verification that all assets are appropriately titled.
  • Discussion of other questions or concerns regarding the smooth administration of your estate plan.
  • Discussion of any personal changes (ex: marriage/divorce) including changes in estate plan goals.
  • Discussion of ways to continually reduce any remaining estate tax liabilities or to protect your assets from loss.
  • Reasonable telephone inquiries relating to your estate plan throughout the year.
  • Updated Powers of Attorney and health care documents, as needed.