Phelps LaClair is a relationship law firm. That means our job is not about just preparing documents, rather we want to be here to help you from the beginning to the end. Many estate planning attorneys charge their clients several hundred dollars every year in annual fees to maintain the client’s Living Trust and other documents. We disagree with this approach. All of our Living Trust clients are part of the Phelps LaClair Free Service Package so they have the peace of mind knowing that the plan will work when the time comes.
Just like maintaining your vehicle in good working order, we have learned that an estate plan must be kept up-to-date in order to work properly. We have reviewed countless Living Trust plans over the years, and seldom do we run into a plan that the client has kept squeaky clean. As time passes, there are almost always going to be changes in your life that call for some fine tuning – newly acquired assets, changes in family relationships, children that have grown up (or not!), changes in your wishes, etc. On occasion, there are also changes in the trust laws or tax laws that provide us with new opportunities to improve the estate plan.
Too often, we see clients come in with trusts that have sat on the shelf for 5, 10 or even 20 years; and sometimes, by the time we get a phone call from the client’s children or advisors it is too late to update the trust and it may not work properly. We believe it is important for you to dust off the cobwebs and have your estate plan reviewed about every three years.
Many estate planning law firms charge their clients $400 to $500 per year in annual fees to maintain their Living Trust plans. We disagree with this approach. For most clients, asking you to come see us every year is overkill, and few clients would receive their money’s worth. Also, we believe in a “pay as you go” approach where you should be charged a fee only when we provide you with new services that bring value to you and your loved ones.
As a key part of the Phelps LaClair Free Service Package, you are entitled to a free trust review meeting with an attorney every three years. During this review meeting, we will help you make sure your plan is current with the laws and your family circumstances, and we will review your asset titles and beneficiary designations to confirm your trust is properly funded to avoid probate. If after our review everything is in good order … nice work! No fee will be charged and we will see you again in three years. If you decide changes, updates or enhancements to your trust are necessary, or if you need assistance transferring newly acquired assets to the trust we will simply quote you a reasonable flat fee for the project.
The free service package also includes the following benefits: