Having recently changed the way we do estate planning at the Sechler Law Firm, allow me to explain these changes to you. We’ve been trying a new process over the last six months, which has evolved from the way we used to do planning. I wanted to test the process before revealing what we were doing, but our clients were so excited about it that the word got out.
The Big Reveal
I am excited to share what is called The Foundation Programme. While we offer planning for wealthy families or business owners, our focus is on doing high class planning for middle class and upper middle folks. If you’ve been on the fence about doing some estate planning, our new process will allow you to do better planning at a better price than a year ago.
For most people, when meeting with an attorney, they may be told that all they need is a simple Will. This is because attorneys do traffic tickets and divorces, as well as Wills, and you are merely a transaction. These attorneys have not seen a trust and don’t understand the nursing home system. Similarly, if you meet with an estate planning attorney who works with high net worth families, they will sell you a simple Will, because you are not rich.
How We Help You
At our law firm, we focus on estate planning and elder law. We care about our clients in the same way that high end attorneys care for high net worth families. As a middle class retiree, your house is just as important to you as a wealthy person’s house is to them. This is why we want to do the best planning for middle class families.
Sometimes people come to our workshop telling me they have a Will, and believe it is all they need. They don’t always understand their options, but we explain that the Will only deals with what happens with your stuff when you pass away. That’s assuming that there is something to leave when you pass away. If you want to be able to leave something for your loved ones, we can help you do some planning. We want you to be financially secure and enjoy a successful retirement.
The biggest threat people are faced with are long term care costs. Many of us may need some form of long term care, but nursing homes in Pennsylvania cost $150,000 a year. Most families cannot afford this. Realising that we may have health issues in our senior years, we need to plan for this possibility. Asset protection trusts, as well as using other estate planning tools, will ensure your assets are secure.
Affordability was a Problem
Before our new process evolved, we offered our clients a free consultation to provide education, and different estate plan options. One option was a good estate plan, while the next option was an estate plan with benefits. Our ‘best’ plan was more expensive, but if people could afford it, they should have it. This is how I was advised to do estate planning when I started the business, and this is how many law firms still operate.
After 10 years of offering the good, better, and best plans, I had a situation which made me realise I had to offer more affordable estate planning options, to protect assets. What transpired was that one of my clients had decided to do a will instead of a plan with a trust many years ago. Unfortunately he got sick and was not able to protect his assets. His son asked me why his father was not able to protect assets, and unfortunately, the answer was that his father didn’t want to pay for it. It was not an easy conversation to have.
Change is Necessary
We came to realise that we were being asked the same questions repeatedly, so we decided to change our process. Our workshops involve us offering education in a group setting, instead of having individual consultations. Known as our Three Secrets Workshop, you can register to attend this free workshop on our website. Visit sechlerlawfirm.com/workshops or call 724-546-4227. During the in-person workshop, you will learn all about the different estate planning tools. We set the foundation, so that you better understand your options.
We will invite you to the Blueprint Workshop, which is also free. This workshop is held by our estate planning and elder law attorneys who will tell you everything you need to know to do an estate plan. We’ll answer your questions about taxes, the different types of trusts, how the nursing home system and Medicaid works, and more. You are given a workbook to work through, and if you decide to work with us, we ask you to return the workbook to us. The workbook contains information that we would need in order to help you with your estate plan. One of our attorneys will consult with you one-on-one, where you can ask more questions relating to your plan, and they will work with you until you approve your plan.
You Are Not A Transaction
We don’t like to treat our clients like they are a transaction, but as a member. We are seeing that people are doing better planning because they understand the process better, and it is more affordable.
Once you have done your estate plan, we will invite you to be part of our Red Wagon Club. As a member, you can attend a series of educational events learning all you need to know from a healthcare and financial standpoint. We support our clients with a monthly membership, including invitations to numerous events. Your kids have the opportunity to learn about their future roles and responsibilities as executors or trustees. You will also get your documents updated, and enjoy many other benefits. Estate planning when done properly, is a process and not a transaction.