Frequently Asked Questions:
- What should I expect when I call Procter, Callahan & Liska, LLC?
- What does the estate planning process look like?
- Why do I need an estate plan if I do not have many assets?
- Should I avoid probate?
- What does estate planning cost?
- Can’t I download estate planning documents off the internet?
- What does litigation mean?
- Do you provide free consultations?
- I have heard that if I think Medicaid might be a necessity for me or someone in my family that I have to spend down my assets first. Is this true?
- I have heard probate is expensive and I would like to minimize the cost by doing tasks on my own. Do I have to allow Procter, Callahan & Liska, LLC to perform every step of the probate administration?
When you call Procter, Callahan & Liska, LLC, we will ask some introductory questions about your personal circumstances to get an idea of what you need and whether or not we are able to assist you. You will need to schedule an appointment with one of the attorneys to discuss your individual needs and receive individual legal advice. Procter, Callahan & Liska, LLC attorneys are forthcoming about their billing practices and understand that cost is a common concern when seeking legal counsel. We are happy to answer questions about our billing practices and procedures in a forthcoming manner. However, because legal services are individualized we require information about your circumstances to thoroughly consider your needs and determine if we are able to assist, and to estimate costs for our services. For these reasons, it is unlikely that we will provide legal advice specific to your individual circumstances over the telephone.
The estate planning process starts with a phone conversation about your needs. We send you an intake questionnaire that will help organize your goals and individual information. We schedule an estate planning consultation to confirm your wishes and discuss recommendations for estate planning documents. After the consultation, we draft estate planning documents for your review. Revisions to the documents are made according to your questions and comments and an appointment is scheduled where you will actually sign or “execute” your estate planning documents. Signing appointments generally take place at our office, but with advance notice we can accommodate other locations for extenuating circumstances.
Designating how and when assets are distributed is not the only value of an estate plan. Rather, an estate plan is also important to designate guardians for minor or special needs children, nominate a personal representative, and to document your desires for asset distribution even if you do not consider yourself to be wealthy. Estate plans also include preparation of powers of attorney for periods of incapacity during lifetime to allow for medical decisions to be made and financial affairs to be managed.
It depends on a number of factors. The probate process in Colorado is simplified by the Uniform Probate Code, making it less expensive and time consuming than it can be in other states. However, if the cost of avoiding probate will be less than the cost of probate, you may choose to plan to avoid probate.
Because every estate plan is unique based on individual circumstances, there is not one price for every estate plan. However, we are forthcoming with our professional fees. Once we speak with you, we will be able to provide either a flat fee or an estimate of estate planning costs.
Estate planning documents are available on the internet and from commercially sold computer programs. However, those documents may not incorporate state laws and do not usually take your specific circumstances into account. In signing such documents without competent legal advice, you may not understand the provisions you are including in your estate plan. Your estate planning documents are most effective to carry out your desires when the terms of the documents align with your unique family and intent. Often, issues with documents that have not been reviewed by an attorney will not become apparent until after death, which may lead to time consuming and expensive litigation for your family.
Litigation is what happens when a lawsuit is filed with the court to resolve a dispute, disagreement, or misunderstanding. Litigation incurs costs including court filing fees, other related fees, and possibly attorneys’ fees. Litigation also means that the court is involved in resolving what may be a very personal or private matter.
We are happy to answer questions about our personal practices, billing policies, and procedures relating to estate planning and other representation over the telephone. We screen your case for appropriateness over the telephone. When you call Procter and Callahan, LLC, we will ask several questions about your individual circumstances to fairly assess whether or not we can help with your needs. However, most legal matters are complex; once we have screened your circumstances for appropriateness with our firm, and you have decided that you would like to work with us, we will schedule an in person consultation, which will be charged at our normal hourly rate.
There are several factors that are relevant to this question. The attorneys at Procter and Callahan, LLC are happy to schedule a consultation with you and/or your family to explain the Medicaid qualification requirements, help you determine if and when a Medicaid application might be appropriate, and assist you in making decisions that align with your specific situation, taking into account your desires and goals.
Procter, Callahan & Liska, LLC works with clients to determine what level of assistance they may need throughout probate administration. We “unbundle” services and can act as merely a consultant or can manage the entirety of the process if that is what you need.