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Skip the Pre-Signing

Skip the Pre-Signing Review: The “Why” and What We Suggest Instead

If you’ve ever dug through our website, you will hopefully have noticed that most of our documentation is written in plain English. The goal of this is to dial down the intimidating nature of estate planning and wealth management. After all, only a third of US adults have any sort of estate planning document in place and often this is due to the mistaken idea that the process is more complex than it is. In making our services as accessible as possible, we aim to combat this misperception because we believe everyone deserves (and needs) an estate plan.

Despite this effort, some of our documentation continues to use complex legal language and the reason is that these items are written for judges, the IRS, Medicaid and other such organizations. In dealing with these authorities, we find that the best way to protect your interests is to throw their language back at them. Nonetheless, it is always our pleasure to explain exactly what goes into each document. In fact, it is precisely because of our belief in the power of simple explanations that we advise against a pre-signing review. Instead, we prefer to go over everything face-to-face when the time comes to put pen to paper.

Wait, what even is a pre-signing review?

A pre-signing review is, in many cases, the second to last step to setting up an estate plan. It is the moment in which you go over the documentation prepared for you by your attorney and make note of any questions or concerns you may have before signing.

As important as this may sound, our honest experience is that most people don’t do a very good job (if they read the documents at all). Nobody likes to read legal documentation, after all, and what’s more, many people rightfully assume it’s their attorney’s responsibility to make sure everything is clearly understood.

We take this job very seriously. When you visit our office for your signing meeting, we take pains to go over every single piece of your estate plan in detail and in language that anyone can understand. Not only is this more effective, it is easier on you and easier on the environment, as well (bye, bye paper waste). This said, we are happy to send out documentation for pre-signing review to any client that asks—it’s just that few ever do.

Sounds great… But is a signing meeting really a good idea in these times?

Covid-19 has, of course, changed the way we do things, but it hasn’t stalled our process. Law firms remain open as an essential service and we take great pains to comply with CDC cleaning and disinfection guidelines. In addition, we’ve limited our number of on-site staff, paired down the size of our workshops, and invested in making many of our services available digitally.    

Should you have questions about these protocols or anything else related to estate planning and wealth management, don’t hesitate to reach out! After all, speaking with our clients is always the best part of our day.

For more information, view our recent YouTube video on this topic, or call our offices to schedule a consultation. 

Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm

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