Estate Planning

Overview | Process | FAQ

Estate Planning Overview

We help our clients build Estate Plans to match their goals and values.  We think of an Estate Plan as a toolbox, which should include the following tools:

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney for Finance
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Advance Health Care Directive (a.k.a., “Living Will”)
  • Instructions Regarding Disposition of Remains

Additionally, we offer more advanced planning tools to address our clients’ unique needs.  These include:

  • Credit Shelter Trusts (to minimize estate taxes for married couples)
  • Special Needs Trusts (to protect an estate beneficiary’s eligibility for benefits programs)
  • Marital Trusts
  • Children’s Trusts
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Specialized Advanced Health Directives, including Mental Health Advance Directives

Based on many years of experience and feedback, we offer most estate planning services on a
flat-fee basis.  Before your initial meeting with an attorney, our team will gather information and learn more about you to make sure we are the right fit.  We also offer a preliminary fee estimate for your planning before you schedule your first meeting with your attorney, to avoid surprises.

What should I expect if I hire Macey-Cushman & Reilly for my estate planning?

There are three steps to the Macey-Cushman & Reilly Estate Planning process.  This process ensures efficiency while allowing for enough time to make sure you come away with a plan that fits your needs and values.

Phase 1: Planning

Choosing the tools for your estate planning toolbox

Phase 2: Review

Exploring your drafts to ask questions and confirm your choices

Phase 3: Signing

Final meeting to sign your documents and discuss next steps

Phase 1:  Planning

After we gather information and offer a preliminary estimate of the fee, we will schedule your Planning Meeting with your attorney.  Before the Planning Meeting, we will send you a list of questions to consider as you prepare.  

At the Planning Meeting, we discuss your estate planning goals, answer your questions, and advise you on a plan that will give you and your loved ones peace of mind without unneccesary complexity.  At the end of the Planning Meeting, your attorney will work with you to confirm the scope of sevices and the fee, which you will have the opportunity to confirm before we move ahead with drafting your documents.  We provide a clear explanation of the fee, in writing.  If you decide not to move forward, you will pay only for the time you spend in consultation with the attorney. 

Phase 2: Review

We will provide drafts of your estate planning documents for your review.  Then, we meet again (in person or remotely) to go over your plan and finalize the documents.  In this phase, we answer questions you may have about the “legalese” used in estate planning, and we make sure you are happy with your choices.  If you would like additional opportunities to meet with the attorney for more detailed discussions about planning, we are available to meet on an hourly fee basis.  

Phase 3: Signing

Our Estate Planning process concludes with a Signing Appointment to sign your documents.  At this meeting, we will provide a checklist for follow-up tasks and advise you about storing your documents, completing direct beneficiary designation forms, and making sure others know what to do if you should die or become incapacitated.  This checklist is tailored to your needs, and you are welcome to follow up with your attorney as needed for additional guidance. 

Estate Planning - Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a returning client for any of the above-named attorneys, we can typically update your plan on an hourly basis without starting over from scratch.  For most updates, you pay only for the time it takes to discuss and complete your updates.  This is because we can work from your prior estate planning document.  

We maintain client files for Barbara Isenhour and Sean Bleck, who are both now retired and who have handed off their practice to Macey-Cushman & Reilly.  This means you can expect continuity of service if you worked with Barbara or Sean in the past and need to revise your plan. 

In order to provide our new clients with the highest quality of service, we typically start “fresh” with a newly drafted set of estate planning documents, rather than amending existing documents that were not drafted by our attorneys.

In some cases, we can provide just one “tool” from the tool box, often at a flat rate.  This is most common with Special Needs Trusts, but we may also offer other documents a la carte, on a case-by-case basis.

A diagnosis of dementia or other cognitive impairment is not the same as a legal determination of incapacity for purposes of estate planning.  However, it is important to let us know if you or your loved one have or suspect this diagnosis, so that we can do our very best to make sure the entire process is clear and the resulting documents are enforceable even if you later lose the capacity to make legal decisions.