Working with Altman & Associates
Estate planning is a process that evolves and requires understanding of your personal and family goals during life and after death. Every estate plan is guided by the events of life, family, financial and tax changes – from those first considering estate planning, to those who have changes to make to an existing plan due to life changes such as loss or divorce. We take the time to carefully analyze the big picture with you, posing critical questions and offering expert guidance in order to thoroughly resolve important issues about your estate. We are pleased to work alongside your other trusted advisors to ensure that your estate plan takes into account your other financial considerations.
People like certainty in their lives and they don’t like unexpected bills from attorneys. While hourly rates are available, we work primarily on a project fee basis. It is our normal practice to quote a flat fee for estate planning, discussing our fees upfront after meeting (wills, powers of attorney, revocable living trusts, special needs trusts, deeds etc.). If the scope of the work should greatly change, or if you need additional work that was not discussed at the initial meeting, we will discuss and prepare a fee agreement to cover the additional work. At the first meeting, we will discuss your situation and that nature of the work that needs to done, describe what we propose to do, and give you an estimate of how long that may take. We will prepare a fee engagement letter that spells out the work to be done and the planning fee we will charge. We always strive to deliver high quality client services at fair and reasonable prices. Some of the factors that determine project fees are: complexity of the project; the amount of time it will take to complete your planning; the level of expertise required, and the level of risk we assume by representing you. Unlike other law firms, we do not charge for ordinary postage, photocopying, or telephone and other miscellaneous expenses.
After many years of experience, we believe that everything we create in the practice is built upon what we have learned from our work with previous clients and our continuing education. The individualized documents we create for you, while critically important, are only a part of the entire service we provide. In addition to the legal documents, you are paying for our experience, expertise and seasoned insight. Proper estate planning is crucial and mistakes can cost you, and your heirs, thousands, if not millions, of dollars. The real value of an attorney is to listen to your circumstances and goals and lead you to the best course of action.
When we act as a fiduciary (such as a trustee, guardian/conservator or personal representative) we may in some cases charge a percentage fee. In that case, our fee will usually be a percentage of the value of the trust or estate we manage. In a few cases (usually involving will and trusts contests) we are willing to discuss setting our fee as a percentage of the recovery for our clients. In these cases we will not charge fees during the case, but will collect a fee only if our client resolves his case to his or her satisfaction. We are happy to discuss the possibility of contingency fees in individual cases.
If you have questions or concerns about a fee, please bring them to our attention. Our position is that client satisfaction is important both for our personal business as well as for you and your satisfaction.
Initial consultations are offered for one hour at $195. If you choose to retain us after the initial consultation that fee will be applied towards the planning engagement. Your total fee will include a credit for the initial consultation payment. We offer all prospective clients referred by their financial advisor or an existing client a complimentary initial one hour consultation. We know that your time is valuable, and so is ours. We expect to accomplish a lot at our first meeting with you. We will do our best to listen, ask targeted questions, offer you suggestions on how to address your problems, decide how to proceed and try to answer all your questions. There are other lawyers and firms that do not charge an initial consultation fee. Our practice has determined over the years, that this fee helps focus our (and our clients’) attention on the issues during the first session, and this is both fair to client and lawyer. We encourage our clients to review the educational materials on our website to start the process. Contact us to schedule an appointment today. (We kindly ask that you call the office 24 hours in advance to cancel and or reschedule a client appointment. This allows us to continue to provide exceptional client service.)
We Won’t Walk Away After You Sign Documents
For over 20 years Altman & Associates has focused on estate planning for clients. We pride ourselves on providing individualized, superior, estate planning techniques and strategies. After you have executed your documents, we don’t usher you out the door but rather consider you clients for life. We have earned our reputation in excellence because we are available for you today and will be in the future. We try hard to stay in regular contact with you, reviewing your family’s needs whenever a law changes or a new planning strategy affects you. We welcome your calls and questions and changes to documents can be relatively simple depending on individual situations.