Ritchie Legacy Planning Session - What to Expect

At the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd., all of our Estate Plans start out with a Ritchie Legacy Planning Session, or as we abbreviate it, a "RLPS".

After you have contacted our office to schedule a RLPS, we send you an Estate Planning Questionnaire. This questionnaire helps us learn about you, your family, and your assets. We require this questionnaire to be turned in four days prior to your RLPS so we can have a productive and working first meeting.

Step 1: Probate Asset Analysis

During your RLPS, we focus our attention on the Probate Asset Analysis Diagram we prepare for you using the information you provided about your assets in your intake questionnaire.

For Estate Planning purposes, this diagram organizes your assets into the following categories:

  • Probate: Assets that are only owned by one person and do not have beneficiary designations. These assets do not automatically transfer to someone else when the owner dies.

  • Non-probate: Assets that automatically transfer to a person's heirs or legatees when they die. These assets are either jointly owned (with right of survivorship) with another person (think of a car, home or bank account that a married couple owns together) or have beneficiary designations.

By organizing assets this way, we are able to see if your Estate will avoid probate (CLICK HERE to learn more about probate).

Below is an example of our Probate Asset Analysis:

Step 2: Learn the Differences Between Trusts and Wills

After going over your Probate Asset analysis, I walk you through the differences between a Trust and a Will. During this step, I have a checklist that I use - this yes/no checklist touches on different situations that might make you consider a Trust over a Will.

Step 3: Steps Needed to Get Your Estate Plan Done/Updated

After outlining the differences between a Trust and a Will, I go over the processes for both plans. Typically, a "simple" Estate Plan, consisting of a Will, Power of Attorney Documents and a TODI if needed (CLICK HERE to learn more about TODIs), can be executed in just two meetings: 1) your RLPS and 2) a Signing Ceremony. Because Trusts are more complex than a Will, they require an extra planning meeting, or what we call, a "Trust Design Meeting". A Trust Estate Plan usually consists of three meetings: 1) RLPS; 2) Trust Design Meeting; and 3) Signing Ceremony.

Step 4: Discuss Your Estate Plan Options

By the time we have reached Step Four, I have explained the Probate Asset Analysis, you understand how your assets are organized, you know the differences between a Will and a Trust and the process for each. We now discuss your Estate Plan options, how each one will fit in with your estate, and the costs of each option.

Step 5: Review Your Estate Planning Questionnaire

After you have decided what type of Estate Plan is best for you, I then go over your Estate Planning Questionnaire. This lets us know who you want named as your Power of Attorneys, Executors, and Guardian of your Children (if applicable). We also discuss any specific bequests or charitable donations you want to include in your documents.

Step 6: Schedule Your Next Meeting

You have now chosen what type of Estate Plan you want, who will be your appointed decision makers, and let us know of any other wishes you want to include in your documents. Now, we schedule your next meeting and our office gets to work on drafting your documents!

This article is a service of Attorney Chad A. Ritchie and the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd. Click Here or call (309) 662-7000 to learn more about what it’s like to meet with the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd. for your initial estate planning meeting. We call this initial Estate Planning meeting a “Ritchie Legacy Planning Session”.

To sign up for the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd. monthly newsletter, click here! Keep up to date with news about estate planning, learn about legislation affecting your estate plans, stay in touch with Ritchie Law Office, and follow Chad's busy schedule of seminars, workshops, events, and appearances around Central Illinois.

2203 E. Empire St. Suite G, Bloomington, IL 61704

 © 2020 Ritchie Law Office, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer:  Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd or attorney Chad A. Ritchie. Any information that you send through this site or by unsolicited e-mail will not be treated as confidential or subject to privilege.  The materials on this site are presented for informational and promotional purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content in this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your own particular facts and circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law in your state. The content of this site contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. Any description of prior results on this site does not constitute a guarantee of a similar outcome.