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New Year’s Resolutions

Most of us make them, right?  For the new year I will go to the gym every day, not miss a single of my kid’s soccer practices and…, for many people, FINISH MY ESTATE PLAN!  It is amazing how many people tell me that they talk about doing their estate plan every year around New Year’s Resolution time… but never finish it.  My approach to New Year’s Resolutions has always been to have some resolutions but I try to start enacting them as soon as I think of it. Why wait for January 1st?  Why not start today!?

For example, two weeks ago I realized I had become sloppy in my return of phone calls and emails.  That is, many attorneys belive it’s acceptable to return a client’s phone call (or email) within 24 hours of receipt.  I have never felt that is acceptable. However, over the last couple of years the number of calls and emails has piled up and, at times, I have taken up to 24 hours to reply. That is not acceptable. I want to be an exceptional attorney and not merely an average one.

With the above in mind I have made a New Year’s Resolution to return all calls and emails within 3 hours of receipt.  I am not waiting until January 1, 2010 to start this resolution… I am starting now!  Feel free to email me to see if I am able to meet my goal!

For you, the person looking to finish (or update) your estate plan let’s get it done NOW!  You say it can’t be done, you are too busy, it takes too much time, you don’t know all of the answers… [insert your own excuse here].  I don’t like to tell clients they are wrong but you are wrong. We can get your estate plan done this year! Contact me at once so we can make it happen.

If you contact me by December 15th we can make this happen THIS YEAR. How would it work? We will set a meeting, in office (or on the phone) to discuss your situation.  We would meet around December 16th or 17th for that conversation.  That would be about a 45-60 minute meeting.  I would then prepare a rough draft of your new estate plan the following week and mail (or email) it to you so that you have it in hand by December 24th.  You then have a long weekend to review the documents. In reality you will need about one hour to sit down and review everything. Two hours if you are detail oriented.  You would contact be by Tuesday December 29th with changes and questions.  We could go over those on the phone.  I would make the changes and we would sign final documents on December 30th or 31st.

That’s right, you can put an estate plan in place now and thus check off a New Year’s Resolution NOW before the new year is even here.

Your new estate plan may help you minimize or avoid taxes after death which, at 45%, can be a huge financial burden to your loved ones.  Your new estate plan will most certainly avoid probate, which at about 4%, can be very costly and is always very time consuming!  Even an efficient probate attorney, like myself, can not complete a probate in less than 7 months. The Court time-lines make it impossible to be shorter than 7 months.   An inefficient probate attorney can take one to two years to finish a probate. .. or longer!  That sounds like something to avoid so let’s get your estate plan done!  Also, if you have minor children do you want to make sure they live with your chosen guardian and that your money, including life insurance, is held in trust for your kids benefit? I KNOW you do!

Let’s meet now to get your plan done before you watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve!  Call me!  Make sure to mention you want the New Year’s Resolution special so I know what your timeline is!   -John

P.S. Happy holidays and I hope your 2010 is happy and healthy!

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