How to Get Started
By now you've seen that The Law Offices of Heather Pietroforte 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 here than at other law firms. That's why our clients love us so much.
Schedule Your Family Wealth Planning Session
Call our office at (559) 684-9700 to schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session. We will schedule the most convenient appointment time available for you with one of our expertly trained Personal Family Lawyers. We see clients on Mondays through Thursdays to make planning as convenient for you as possible.
When you schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session, we block 2 hours on our calendar so we can focus entirely on you and your family during this time. We will send you a package of information to complete before our time together, which will help you begin the process of getting your legal and financial life in order. During our meeting together, we will guide you to gently look at what would happen for your loved ones and with your assets if something were to happen to you. And then, we’ll look at what you want to happen and help you create a roadmap to get that plan in place as easily as possible. Clients routinely say “Wow, if we had known how easy this would be, we would have done it years ago!” after meeting with us.
Our Family Wealth Planning Session is $750 and if we create a comprehensive plan for you, that planning fee is applied to your legal fees for your lifetime estate plan. In some circumstances, we will waive the planning session fee and instead you can secure your appointment time with a credit card number.
In such cases, so long as you keep your appointment, nothing will be charged on your card unless you decide to proceed with a comprehensive estate plan after the Family Wealth Planning Session. In such a situation, if you must cancel within 1 week of your appointment, your credit card will still not be charged unless you fail to reschedule your appointment within 30 days of your cancellation. If you cannot keep your appointment and you choose not to reschedule, your credit card would be charged the $750 planning fee.
We understand that this policy of securing your appointment with a credit card may seem unique. So is our law firm. We provide our very best service to those families who are looking for a long-term relationship with their trusted advisor. We expend most of our energy providing an exceedingly high degree of service to our existing clients and limit the number of new clients we see each week. We only take referrals from trusted Professional Planning Partners. As a result, we must secure your appointment time so that if something comes up and you can't attend your appointment, we will have enough advance notice to open the slot to a waiting family.
What to Do Prior to Your Family Wealth Planning Session
About 3 days after scheduling your appointment, you will receive a Mailer with your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment and other important information that you will want to review prior to your personal Family Wealth Planning Session. We must have your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment returned to our office 3 days prior to your Session either by mail, fax or electronic mail or we will need to reschedule your Session. Feel free to call the office at any time if you need assistance completing your worksheet or have any questions at all.
If you have existing estate planning documents, please make sure that we have your existing documents in our office at least a week before your meeting so that we can review them prior to meeting with you.
What to Expect the Day of Your Family Wealth Planning Session
On the day of your meeting, please expect to spend up to 2 hours with your attorney. The initial meeting with your attorney has two purposes:
To identify whether there is a good fit between you and our attorney who will become your Family Business Lawyer™ and...
To educate you about the law and what would happen if you died with your current (or no) plan in place.
By looking at what would happen under your current plan, you can identify what you would want to happen differently and then together with your Personal Family Lawyer's guidance make the decisions that are necessary to give you the peace of mind of knowing your family would be taken care of in the way you want if something happened to you.
Assuming that you and your attorney determine that there is a good fit between our firm and your family AND that you identify specific ways you would want things to happen that are different than what would currently happen if something happened to you, you and your Family Business Lawyer™ can design a plan for your family right away.
What Happens Next?
Once you and your Family Business Lawyer™ have completed the design of your plan, you will meet with our plan coordinator who will review your assets for the purpose of ensuring that everything you own will be titled for maximum protection and then schedule a meeting for you to sign your planning documents approximately 4 weeks later.
We have a process of reviewing your documents with you that makes your plan so easy to understand that you will know for certain that we understood exactly the way you want things to happen when something happens to you and that your loved ones will be in excellent hands with our firm. Once you sign your planning documents, your assets and your family are protected as discussed during your design meeting.
We see that as only the beginning of our relationship. You may make changes to your planning documents at no charge for up to 90 days after you sign your documents.
At our final meeting during the planning stage of our relationship, we verify that all of your asset transfers are moving forward on track whether we are taking the lead or you are taking the lead with our guidance. We review your asset spreadsheet with you and ensure all of your questions are answered. Of course, if they aren't or they become cloudy later on, we are always available to answer your questions at any time in the future. And, there's no charge for that.
What Happens After I Sign My Estate Planning Documents and Take Them Home?
After the planning phase is complete, the maintenance phase of your plan will begin. At no additional charge, we review your plan at least every three years and keep you informed about changes in the law and about other issues that affect your family and your wealth.
And, if you participate in one of our Family Wealth VIP Membership programs, you will have an opportunity to review your plan on an annual basis, and we will provide your family with a number of other valuable services.
Call us today to learn about the Membership Programs. Finally, we are always here for you and we don't charge you for phone calls, faxes, or emails. We welcome your communications!
You'll be amazed at how easy and painless the entire planning process will be for your family.
Call us today at (559) 684-9700!
Our Planning Process
We know, beginning your estate plan is a big step. So our process is designed to ensure your confidence in the planning process each step of the way. Every decision is carefully reviewed with you and yet the entire process doesn't stretch out beyond 8 weeks, so you know that within a single month after meeting with The Law Offices of Heather Pietroforte’s Family Business Lawyer™, your family could be totally protected.
It's the perfect combination of efficiency and warmth.
The planning process itself begins with an initial meeting that is an opportunity for you to meet with us, so we can each determine whether there is a good fit between you and our firm.
During this initial meeting, we will walk you through exactly what your loved ones would have to do and where your assets would go if something happened to you.
You will then be able to determine if there was anything about your current plan (or the state's plan for you) that you wouldn't like and you'll get clear on what you would want to happen if something happened to you.
Assuming there is a good fit between you and us, we will help you to choose the planning level and fee that is right for your family (we have three different planning levels to accommodate your needs - our fees begin at $2,000 and they are all-inclusive, so there are no surprises) and you and Heather will then design a plan that will give you the peace of mind of knowing your family will be taken care of in the event the unthinkable happens.
Sometimes, depending on the level of planning you choose and the complexity of your situation, a second design meeting is needed or a Whole Family Wealth Audit meeting is offered to review your more complex financial matters.
Once your plan has been designed to your satisfaction, you will return to our office about 4-6 weeks later to sign your planning documents. At this point, your family and your assets will be totally protected in the case of your death or incapacity.
In most law firms, the relationship ends there.
But we see the signing of these documents as the beginning of our relationship with your family. This is where our law firm is very different.
After you sign your legal documents, we don’t just send you on your way and wish you luck for the future. Instead, we create an electronic record of all of your legal documents so you can easily access them anytime you need to in the future and then schedule a legacy meeting with you. This is one of the most important meetings of our process because it’s where we:
1) ensure your assets are all owned in the right way (you can have the best set of legal documents, but if your assets are not owned in the right way, it’s all been a waste);
2) make sure everyone you’ve named to take care of your kids, the money you are leaving behind or you - if you cannot care of yourself, knows just what to do, if and when something happens;
3) capture and plan for your intangible assets – the values, insights, stories, and experiences – you would never want lost.
And this is where we make sure you understand everything we’ve put in place for you and your family.
Then, we still aren’t done!
We meet with you at least every three years to review your plan and make sure it stays up to date. If that’s not included in the planning you are doing, the set of documents you get are very unlikely to work when your family needs them.
Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment Worksheet
The Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment is designed to help you focus in on the important information and questions that are necessary to get your legal and financial house in order.
We ask you to fill it out and return it to us in advance of our appointment so that we can have the most productive time together.
- Print the Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment worksheet.
- Fill in as much as you can.
- Make an appointment with us to discuss your plan.
- Return the Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment worksheet to us at least 3 days in advance of our appointment.
If the worksheet does not open, you may need to download the 'Free' Acrobat Reader here.