Estate Planning Maintenance Plans

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Protecting Your Furry Friends

The goal of estate planning is to preserve your legacy and protect your loved ones. For many pet lovers in the United States, this also means making plans for their pets’ care if they should pass away unexpectedly. Estate planning attorneys regularly work with individuals to create pet trusts which outline who should care for the beloved companions and often designate funds to cover their expenses. 

While pet trusts can be an effective vehicle to protect your pets over the long-term, what would happen to them if you were in a serious accident and didn’t return home at your regular time? Would your loved ones even think to take Fido out? Would they know about his sensitive stomach or the heartworm pill that he has to take each month? Would they know who his vet is and when his next vaccination is due? In most cases, the answer is no.

LegalVault is a great way to provide this information to your loved ones and ensure that your furry friend is cared for immediately, if you become incapacitated or pass away suddenly. The LegalVault Emergency Access Wallet Card allows you to include a note where you can alert healthcare providers and remind loved ones that your pet is at home and in need of care. With the ability to upload any type of document to your account, you can upload all of Fido’s medical records, diet information, care instructions and even include details on his unique sleeping habits or obsession with chewing socks. 

As a pet owner, you understand that there is a lot of responsibility which comes with caring for an animal. Planning for their continued well-being in the event of your absence is one of those responsibilities. Contact your estate planning attorney today to learn more about LegalVault and how it can help to keep your cherished pet safe and happy. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Delivering Tangible Value to Estate Planning Clients

The value of estate planning is largely intangible. After investing time and money in drafting healthcare directives and a comprehensive estate plan, clients don’t walk away with a brand new car or fancy diamond ring. Sadly, most clients never fully recognize the value of an experienced attorney’s advice or the impact of properly-crafted estate plans until they fall ill or experience the passing of a loved one. Many firms spend a great deal of time trying to educate clients, and the public, about the intangible benefits while others try to deliver some tangible value by providing their clients with a branded binder with the signed documents or, for the tech-savvy, a CD with the estate plan so clients can view and save the completed materials electronically.

In addition to professionally packaged estate planning documents, attorneys can also deliver a tangible benefit by offering a service like LegalVault through which clients can store all of their most important legal documents, virtual passwords and healthcare directives. Once a client is enrolled in LegalVault, he or she will receive an Emergency Access Wallet Card which allows healthcare providers to access the client’s advance directives 24/7/365.  This card, which contains emergency medical information like allergies, contact information, etc, features your firm’s branding so clients are reminded of the great value you offer every time they open their wallets.

With a simple online enrollment process, your firm has ultimate flexibility when it comes to setting up a new account and uploading estate planning documents.  Many firms we work with include the enrollment form as part of their intake forms, allowing them to get an account set up right after the initial consultation with the client. With the fastest turnaround time across the industry, firms receive the wallet cards in just a few days, allowing them to have this nice takeaway in time for the signing ceremony. In addition to leaving with their completed documents, clients walk away from the estate planning process with their LegalVault account information and peace of mind knowing that with this investment in the future, their wishes will be honored during their lifetime and beyond.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reconnecting with Past Clients

All estate planning attorneys know that effective estate plans aren’t static. As circumstances change throughout an individual’s lifetime so too must one’s estate plan. Many firms offer maintenance programs to address the evolving needs of clients. Other firms may not have the time or resources needed to develop and implement a maintenance program but nevertheless aim to serve as a continuous resource for clients long after the signing of wills and trusts.

LegalVault is a great way to continuously reconnect with past clients, regardless of whether your firm offers a maintenance program. Each time your client accesses his or her most important documents through your site, you can be certain that they’re reminded of the great value that you provide to clients.  The end of a LegalVault subscription also serves as a great opportunity for your firm to connect with clients regarding changes in the laws and an update that a client may not even know they need.

For firms who require assistance reaching out to past clients, we’re pleased to offer LegalVault ReConnect where we’ll do the hard work of following up with past clients for you. Contact us today to learn more about how estate planning firms around the county are using LegalVault to better serve current clients and reconnect with past ones.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Secure Documents, Secure Keepsakes

Over the past few months, we’ve seen several natural disasters strike various parts of the United States. These floods, tornados and hurricanes have caused mass destruction, damaging homes, cars and most devastatingly, family keepsakes and documents which cannot be replaced. While these disasters are unavoidable, there are simple steps that one can take today to preserve cherished possessions. With the advent of secure document storage systems like LegalVault, account holders can easily store legal documents along with valued family photos, home videos, copies of diplomas and so much more.

Here’s how it works: Once your firm creates an account for a client, they will be given a secure username and password. Your client can then log in 24/7 to upload documents, photos or videos which can be accessed at any time, from anywhere. If the account holder would like to preserve medical results or data, like immunization records, these can be uploaded to the designated medical section which can be accessed by a healthcare provider in the event of a medical emergency.

As an attorney, providing peace of mind to clients is invaluable. In the event of an emergency, they will be able to turn to your firm for convenience and have many of their cherished keepsakes right at their fingertips.  Contact us today to learn more about adding this valuable service to your client-centered offerings.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Virtual Legacy Planning: It’s not an option, it’s a necessity

After one’s passing, the family generally starts the difficult, and time consuming, process of cleaning up and sorting the personal belongings of the deceased. Much of this time is spent organizing and remembering this person’s life, but it is also a time of discovery.  Bank statements are found, old photos collected and letters to relatives uncovered. All of these items serve to assist with the distribution of remaining assets and also enhance the preservation of one’s legacy. But what if all of these items are stored online? With the growing popularity of email correspondence, online banking, social media sites, online trading, photo-sharing sites, online bill-pay and blogs, this is increasingly the case.

So what happens to all of these accounts when you die? Well it really depends. Some internet sites have provisions in place that allow a relative to gain access once they present the appropriate documentation while others prohibit (or make it virtually impossible) for loved ones to take control of the account. In these cases valuable information pertaining to your assets and legacy are lost.

As estate planning attorneys, you seek to protect your client’s wealth, property and legacy for generations to follow. With many of these items now stored online, it is imperative that this information be included in every estate plan you create. Many attorneys simply request that each client provide them with a list of online accounts  and placed this document in the client’s folder  but this method is far from secure and can easily become outdated.

LegalVault provides a secure method of storing online account information for your clients to ensure that their virtual legacies are properly cared for. With the ability to add an unlimited number of accounts including the URL of the login page, username and password, clients can have peace of mind knowing that the individuals they designate will have access to vital information, photos and emails after their passing. In the event that a new online account is created or a password changed, a client can log right into his or her account to make sure this information is updated right away. Long gone are the days of storing bank statements, love-letters and photos  in a shoebox under the bed but that doesn’t mean that these details and mementos can’t be properly preserved and cherished by those left behind—only now its online.

Monday, March 1, 2010

LegalVault--The perfect accessory to any maintenance plan.

As all estate planning attorneys will attest, estate plans must be continually updated as financial and family circumstances change. To meet this ongoing need, many estate planning law firms offer a maintenance program for their clients to ensure all documents are up to date and continue to meet individual needs as well as changes in state and federal laws. 

While the specifics of a maintenance program can differ from firm to firm, most generally include an annual review of all documents, any necessary amendments to the documents, free workshops and phone consultations to address any concerns clients may have.

If your firm offers such a maintenance plan, LegalVault® is well suited to work with you and your clients in the exchange and storage of estate planning documents. Here are just a few ways in which this advanced document storage system may help you offer more value and convenience to your clients:

Secure Document Exchange All Year Round
If a client’s financial situation does change, he or she will have to send you new documentation which may include tax returns, account statements, asset summaries, etc. Of course, they may submit the information via fax or email but these methods are far from secure and should not be relied on when transmitting highly confidential information. 

With LegalVault®, your clients may easily log in to their secure account right through your firm’s website and upload any documents. As soon as the upload has been completed, your firm will receive email notification allowing you to log in to your Client Manager and safely download the document. 

Convenient Retrieval of Amended Documents In Just Minutes
When you update your clients plan, you will most likely provide them with updated copies of the documents for their records. This can easily be done electronically using LegalVault®. Uploading a document takes less than a minute and your clients can easily download these items at anytime from any location by logging into their LegalVault® accounts.

Flexible Healthcare Wallet Card Options
LegalVault® also allows you to store healthcare directives and critical medical information for all subscribers. Should one of your clients require emergency medical care, they can present the treating healthcare professional with a personalized wallet card with emergency contact, medical information and detailed instructions on accessing healthcare directives online or via fax.

Over time, emergency contacts, medical conditions and healthcare directives inevitably change; LegalVault® allows you or your clients to easily make these changes and even gives you the ability to print an updated card right from the comfort of your office at no extra charge. Each card contains your firm’s logo to make sure that your firm and this valuable service you offer remains on your clients’ minds.

Offering convenience, peace of mind, and security, LegalVault® is the perfect accessory to any Maintenance Plan. Contact us to learn more about incorporating this valuable tool into your practice.

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