Our Estate Planning Process
NO OFFICE VISIT REQUIRED
CONTACTLESS - SAFE - CONVENIENT
SERVING CLIENTS THROUGHOUT ILLINOIS
Estate Planning at prices that are a fraction of traditional law firms!
Please review this page to learn more on how our safe, convenient and easy to use Estate Planning service may be right for you.
Most estate plans can be done remotely so there is no need to take a day off of work for an in-office visit for document reviews or signings. Using our secure and confidential client portal along with telephone calls, mail or video conferencing, we can discuss your estate planning needs, collect all required information, review documents and exchange drafts of your estate plan documents all in an easy to follow convenient process. Using these tools, we can customize how your plan is delivered to fit your needs.
Contact us for a Free 30 minute telephone consultation and to see how easy it is to get started.
How does the Estate Planning process work?
At the beginning of the process, you will meet with Attorney Michael Rada by phone to have a general discussion about your desires and estate particulars. Then you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire from the comfort of your own home that will outline in detail the particulars of your estate specifying your preferences and requirements such as who you wish to serve as executor of your estate, who you wish to designate as power of attorney agents, what specific gifts you wish to give and how you would like your estate distributed upon your passing. We even provide postage for the return of your questionnaire. From this information, your documents will be carefully drafted based on the information that you provided and any subsequent conversations you may have. You will always have the opportunity to review all drafts and no document is considered final until you approve. Once the documents are finalized, they will be sent to you along with detailed, yet easy to follow instructions on how to sign your documents properly.
Will I work with a licensed attorney?
Yes! At all times you will work with attorney Michael Rada. You will not work with anyone else during the process such as a paralegal or legal assistant. See below to read how this service is completely different from the services provided by the online legal services.
Is this Online Estate Planning?
No. This is estate planning using modern technology with a personal touch. Really, the only difference between our process and traditional estate planning is that you do not need to come to the law office. Please see the question and answer below about online services for more information.
How do I sign my documents?
Once the documents are finished, you can receive the final documents either electronically or in the mail and sign them in front of your witnesses and a notary in the location of your choosing. Many clients have done this at work or in their own home. We will provide detailed instructions on how to execute the documents making them legal without having to come to our offices. We will also provide recommendations of places that offer notary services (such as banks and UPS Stores) as well as suggestions for mobile notaries that come to you.
Do I need witnesses?
Yes. You will need two witnesses for the signing of the documents. Your witness will not see the contents of your documents. They will only know they are witnessing your signing of an estate plan.
The following describes how to best choose your witnesses.
The following individuals should NOT be chosen as a witness for your estate planning documents:
- Anyone under the age of 18.
- Anyone who may profit or benefit from your estate plan and their relatives.
- Anyone designated in your estate plan, for example as executor, trustee, Power of Attorney Agent.
- Your spouse.
- Any family members, or spouses of family members.
- Anyone who is directly involved in your direct care as a caretaker or medical professional.
- Someone who is blind.
- Someone who no longer possesses sound mental capacity.
- The person who is notarizing your documents.
Unless a member of one of the above categories, witnesses can include friends, neighbors and co-workers. In addition, your witnesses can be strangers and individuals who are not acquaintances of yours.
Do I need a Notary?
Yes, most of the documents will need to be notarized. There are several businesses that may be available to notarize your documents such as the UPS Store or FedEx Stores. You should always call ahead as some may require an appointment. Your bank may be another option. Also, another convenient option may be a mobile notary who will come to your location at the time of your signing. There is a fee for this service. We can provide references of mobile notaries if needed.
Does everyone need to be together at the time of my signing?
Yes, your two witnesses and notary should all be with you in the same location at the time of your signing of the documents.
What do I do with my documents after they are signed?
Once the documents are signed, they are yours to keep in a safe place. There is no need to file them with a court. The exception is a deed or Transfer on Death Instrument which does need to be recorded with the county - but we can take care of that for you. After the documents are signed, we do not keep copies of your signed documents and cannot store your originals for you.
Is this service different from the online will and trust websites that are on the internet?
It is very different! Our service is online estate planning with a personal touch. In this process you will always communicate with Attorney Michael Rada who will collect your information and listen to your needs while carefully crafting the estate plan that is best for you. At all times you can ask any questions that you may have and offer any input that you wish to convey so that the documents created perfectly meet your needs. In addition, you will have the opportunity to review drafts of all of your documents and suggest edits or changes. This is very different from the online estate planning websites that simply spit out a cookie cutter document based on a few basic questions that is very likely to be no where close to what you truly need.
Please do not trust the online downloadable forms that you can find all over the internet at rock-bottom prices. They are often poorly written and not tailored to your needs. You need a lawyer to make sure you have the right documents. For more information on this, please READ THIS article from AARP that further describes the potential issues with online estate plan websites.
How long does the process usually take?
Once I receive your completed estate plan questionnaire, you can expect to have drafts of your documents back within 1 - 2 weeks. Once you have reviewed your documents and have approved all of the changes needed (if any), you will usually receive your final documents for signing within a week or so.
Will my contact information be used for marketing?
Never. Your information is confidential to us only. The only reason we keep your contact information is for your client file. We will never use, distribute or sell your contact information for marketing or advertising purposes.