Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We understand that after reading all about our services you still may have some questions. Here you will find a list of some common inquiries. Don’t see your question here? Please feel free to call us at (904)-699-8550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask!
Are you an attorney or financial planner?
Neither, which means I cannot give you legal or financial advice. I have, however, spent the last twenty-five years in Florida as an Advanced Certified Paralegal specializing in estate planning and probate. My experience and expertise allow me to personally assist clients with what can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming tasks assigned to them by their attorneys and/or financial planners.
How does the process work? What is the end result?
While every client’s needs are different, our estate organization and documentation services have a basic procedure that we’ll go through together in your home to ensure you and your family are fully prepared in the event of an emergency. Whether a hurricane, medical emergency or death, everything you need will be documented and stored in your personalized, printed Savvy Life Book. You’ll also receive a digital copy of your book on a thumb drive.
What is a Savvy Life Book?
The Savvy Life Book is a collection of all of your vital personal, legal, financial, medical and digital information neatly organized into a customized three-ring binder for ease of reference by you and/or your family. When finished, it’ll include everything you and/or your family will need, and need to know, in the event of an emergency – right down to providing the necessary information for the care of your pets, and your wishes on end-of-life care. Click here for a detailed list of information covered.
Why do I need this service?
In the event of an emergency, you or your family will be able to quickly grab the binder with confidence that everything you or they need is all there in one place. When there’s an emergency, all you want is to be able to get to your family quickly, not to waste time sorting through file cabinets hoping to find the documents needed to help you.
My parents’ paperwork and estate planning documents are very disorganized, but I work long hours/live far away, and am unable to help them sort everything out. Is this something with which Estate Savvy can help?
This is exactly what we do! Ours is a step-by-step process designed to keep clients from feeling overwhelmed or stressed. We will go to your parents’ home, where they feel most comfortable, and help them sort through their documents and financial information in a respectful, pressure- free manner.
My mom tends to be very emotional and tires quickly. How does that affect the process?
Organizing your affairs often requires sorting through years and years of documents and memories. Because of this we anticipate that clients may physically or emotionally exhaust themselves. That is the last thing we want to happen! We care about our clients and monitor their feedback carefully to ensure they’re not wearing themselves out. If they need a break; we take a break. If they need to eat lunch; we’ll help them prepare it! Whether for 15 minutes, or for the rest of the day, we will always do what is best for them.
I already had an attorney prepare my estate planning documents. What can you do for me that they didn’t already do?
Let me stress that properly, legally executing your estate planning documents is extremely important! Upon your incapacity (whether temporary or permanent) or death, your estate planning documents will tell your family who is to handle your business affairs, your preferences on end-of-life care, and who is to get your assets. However, those documents won’t tell your family all the other important information they need – what assets you have, what bills you owe, who the landscaper is and how often the he/she comes, even when to give your dog his medications. Our service helps you organize all that information and more into your own Savvy Life Book for ease of reference.
What is a “Letter of Intent” and do I need one?
A Letter of Intent is a non-legal document that’s quickly becoming a popular way to summarize and/or supplement your estate plan for those you leave behind. Essentially, it’s a letter from you to your personal representative/trustee and/or beneficiaries discussing your personal thoughts that resulted in your estate plan as well as any personal wishes to be considered in implementing your plan. While not a legally binding document, a letter of intent is a blueprint of your plan and wishes and may serve to keep family squabbles to a minimum. We’re happy to discuss with you the different ways we can help you with preparing one for your Savvy Life Book.
My parents won’t share their financial information with me. Is there another way to help them?
Often parents are more comfortable confiding in an outside objective professional than they are with their children. Once they have overcome the hurdle of working with outside professionals and see things more streamlined, many seniors will begin to bring their children into conversations about their finances.
I am a very private person and don’t want anyone in my family knowing my business until they need to know. What is your policy on client confidentiality?
All information is kept confidential between our firm and the client, regardless of who is paying for our service.
As an example, Mary hires Estate Savvy to help her mother put her affairs in order. While Mary may have hired us, her mother is our client. Therefore, even though Mary is paying the bill, our duty of confidentiality is to her mother. We will not share any of mom’s personal information with Mary, or anyone else, unless we have specific permission from Mom in writing or the family provides me with legitimate evidence of Mom’s incapacity or death.
Does your firm keep copies of my information/documentation?
No. We retain for our records only your name, address, email, phone number, and the name of your attorney should there become a need for probate after your death.
Since an attorney is required to file probate in Florida, how would your services help me as an executor/personal representative/trustee of an estate/trust?
We recognize the loss of a loved one can be devastating and overwhelming for you and your family. There’s so much to do, and when families don’t live in town, there’s so little time to do it before having to go back home. When you retain our estate administration services, we’ll be there with you, in person, to assist you in sorting through your loved one’s legal and financial paperwork, and help you work on the task list your attorney may have assigned you.
We’re also prepared to attend initial conferences with attorneys and other professionals to take notes for you and ask the important questions that you may not have considered.
You can find more information about our estate administration services by clicking here.
I’m missing important documents which I need to open a bank account and for other applications. How do I get them replaced?
We’re happy to help you navigate the systems to replace your driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, and more. And we have a notary public commissioned by the state of Florida on staff to help take care of all your document preparation needs.