We have established a cloud based “portal” to store copies of executed estate planning documents (“Portal”). This Portal will allow you, and anyone you choose, to have access to key legal documents whenever they wish, even when traveling or away from home, so long as there is internet access.
Several of the advantages this Portal provides includes:
You can download a ShareFile App to your smart phone to access copies of your signed planning documents in an emergency. Few people travel with their health proxy. In an emergency, you can download it to your smart phone and give it to medical personnel.
It is better to coordinate planning with all members of your estate and financial planning team making all key documents accessible to everyone on your team while avoiding the time and costs associated with our transmitting documents. Collaboration is at the core of protecting you and your loved ones. The more coordinated your various advisers, the more you will benefit. You should proactively encourage communications and cooperation of your advisors.
Quick access to documents will help your fiduciaries respond more quickly to emergencies by assuring, if you authorize it, their having access to key legal documents.
Helps save administrative costs and more efficiently serve you.
Share File FAQs
How do I access my Sharefile document Portal? A:
When a personal portal/vault is created for you, you will receive an email requesting that you create a password. We will not have access to your password. The Portal can be accessed at any time through the link on the www.shenkmanlaw.com website, or directly through the ShareFile website, www.ShareFile.com. After you sign in to the vault, you will need to click on your name, which gives you two folder options, titled “Document Vault” and “Transfer File.” The Document Vault will contain copies of your estate planning documents, and cannot be edited or changed by you. The Transfer File folder will allow you to upload files, which will remain there for 30 days, and can be used as a way to transfer large files securely to our firm, or even to your other advisers.
Sharefile has created “apps” for both iPhone and Android, which can be downloaded and used to access your documents on your phone. This can be useful in an emergency when you don’t have your documents with you. Q:
Is it safe to have my estate planning documents in the cloud? A:
While it appears that the technology for cloud based data vaults such as that provided by ShareFile should be reliable and safe, there is always potential for risk. If the ShareFile website is compromised, there is the possibility someone could gain unauthorized access to these files. If you are not comfortable with this risk please, let us know and we can remove your documents and deactivate your account. Q:
Uploading Old Documents to your Document Vault? A:
Any of our clients whose documents were prepared before we established the Portal that would like them uploaded to the cloud, please contact the office at (201) 845-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would be happy to add any documents you wish. Q:
If I have copies of my documents in the cloud, why do I need to keep the originals? A:
Certain original documents are important to keep safe, as the law may require the original to perform certain actions. For example, to “probate” a will after someone has passed away, the original will is required. In fact, if the original cannot be found, the law may presume you intended to revoke that will. The same issue might arise with respect to a revocable trust. Therefore, all of your original documents should be kept by you in a secure, fireproof location. We do not retain any original documents whatsoever. Your fiduciaries should be informed of the documents whereabouts. If key people cannot locate your documents in an emergency they will not be able to assist you in the manner you wish. Bear in mind that documents kept in a bank safe deposit box may not be readily accessible. Q:
What if I decide to retain another lawyer? A:
All original documents are returned to our clients, we do not retain originals. In addition, you can download the electronic copies of the documents from the portal and retain them on your computer. We may retain the client portal for a former client to provide you time to access and save the documents wherever you or your new advisers wish.
Forms and Information
Below are writeable PDF forms and information which can be used to assist in both the estate planning and probate planning processes. Reviewing and completing these forms before your meeting with your attorney can both assist you in understanding your priorities, as well as make the meeting more efficient.
Use this questionnaire to organize basic information an estate planner will need for an initial meeting. Complete this as best you can prior to your meeting. If you have already completed similar organizers for your wealth manager or other adviser, those might suffice. You might even wish to have your CPA or financial planner help you complete the Questionnaire and accompany you to your meeting.
Important Person Chart
Use this form to organize information on family members and other people that may be important to your estate plan. Having the contact information for everyone involved in your planning in a single document will be extremely useful during an emergency. You should include the contact information for:
Family Members (Parents, Siblings, Children, Grandchildren).
Beneficiaries (Family members, charities, friends).
Executors, Trustees, Agents (Anyone who will be named in the documents to assist you).
Professionals (Accountants, Life Insurance Agents, Attorneys).
List people you might exclude from your planning that others might expect you to include, but that you choose not to.
You can use this form to list key assets and liabilities. The goal is to summarize a general overview of your financial picture, not to list each detailed item. Endeavor to indicate how assets are owned. The details contained in the Questionnaire above explain more fully the information needed.
Authorization/Direction for Advisers to Communicate
Please complete the names, companies and addresses of all important professional advisers (e.g., CPA, general attorney, insurance agent, property/casualty insurance agent, financial planner, etc.). Use more than one form if necessary. The purpose is to authorize and direct your various advisers to collaborate. This is essential to the success of your planning.
Personal Intake Sheet
Please complete this form before your initial meeting to confirm information about your current professional advisers, certain key facts about your planning status, and contact data.
Emergency Child Medical Form
You should fill in the relevant information for your minor children and those you wish to authorize to assist them in a medical emergency if you cannot do so. You should sign several originals to leave with a family member or other person watching your children if you plan to be away. If we can be of assistance in completing this document, please let us know.
This general questionnaire contains the basic information on both the Executor and the decedent an attorney will need for an initial meeting regarding the estate. Complete this as best you can prior to your meeting.
Use this form to list the decedent’s assets, assets in any known trust as well as assets of any surviving spouse/partner. The goal is to summarize a general overview of the estate’s financial picture, not to list each detailed item. Endeavor to indicate how assets are owned.
Provide basic information about the decedent, the Executor(s) and the decedent’s professionals.
How to be an Executor Checklist
This is a checklist outlining the duties and responsibilities an executor has to perform as part of the probate process. It will help give someone named an executor a general idea of what they need to do to perform the role they have been entrusted with.
Estate Planning Billing Documents
These are the billing document forms our estate planning clients sign to have us assist them. If you have any questions on these forms, please call.
Probate Billing Documents
These are the billing document forms our probate clients sign to have us assist them. If you have any questions on these forms, please call.
Directions to our Firm
These are directions on how to reach our office. If you have scheduled a meeting and are unsure on how to reach us after reviewing the directions, please call.
Longevity, Health and Other Personal Factors Affect Your Estate Plan
A holistic estate plan, that considers and integrates a wide range of considerations, including protecting your lifestyle, carefully crafting tax and asset protection planning, etc. is more likely to produce a plan and documents that meet your needs and address your broader concerns. To help clients of Shenkman Law address additional considerations that might aid the planning process, we offer, at no cost to current clients a confidential Halo report.
What a Halo Report Provides
The Halo report can provide you insight as to estimates of:
Your estimated life expectancy.
What impact might lifestyle changes have on improving your life expectancy?
How many years of your life expectancy are anticipated to be active post-retirement years. During how many years might you require assistance with health or age related challenges?
What health care costs might you incur?
How this Information Might Influence Planning
This information should be interesting and important for you personally, but it might also influence important estate and related planning decisions:
How urgent is it for you to create safeguards to address aging and health issues? By when should you address these considerations? These points can be relevant to the time frame to implement planning techniques, to down size to a different safer home, to how to structure an estate planning technique.
What age should financial forecasts consider (i.e. 80, 90, 100? etc.) when determining the likelihood that you will have adequate resources to support your lifestyle, so you can better tailor estate planning transfers? Can you afford the gift or estate tax transfers you are contemplating?
What estate planning tools might be preferable based on your life expectancy and health considerations?
Your estimated life expectancy is important to many financial and estate planning decisions.
Let us help you and your other advisers collaborate to take a broader, more holistic approach to your planning.
Take the HALO assessment to help you determine rough estimates of life expectancy, care needs and future health care costs.
The link below will take you to Genivity’s website to answer health and lifestyle questions in order to create a life expectancy and health care report for you. You will receive a summary report that will provide some insights. To review the complete report contact Shenkman Law.
Shenkman Law facilitates current clients obtaining a Halo report at no cost. If you are not currently a client, the use of this program or taking an assessment and having it emailed to Shenkman Law will not establish an attorney-client relationship.