Walking the Walk: Notaries, Time to Get Your Affairs in Order

Aug 29, 2022

Have you been "shoulding" all over yourself about getting your Medical Directives, Last Will & Testament, or even a Living Trust in place? Me too! Even as an advocate of the importance of these documents, I've found myself dragging my feet, procrastinating, and avoiding the process altogether…until now. My guest, Stephanie Maloney, is in charge of Client Services at Premiere Estate planning, and on this episode she shares her passion and her lessons about a necessary subject that many of us avoid. Part of the joy of being the Notary at an Estate Planning Appointment is the peace of mind it brings to the signers. Now it's your turn to enjoy that peace too! And, frankly, there's no better way to understand the process AND the documents, then to go through it yourself.

Guest Information:

Stephanie Maloney is the Director of Client Services at Premier Estate Planning, based in Arizona but assisting clients in all fifty states with their Estate Planning needs.

Book a free consultation with Stephanie HERE.

Episode Highlights:

2:13 Estate Planning: It's about putting our permission slips in place before a problem happens in our lives. Most people think estate planning is for wealthy, older people. But actually, it's about being in control of our decisions, under all circumstances, for both our medical care and our financial lives.

17:48 Who needs a trust? Anyone who has minor children needs a trust.

36:25 Do it. Don't wait another month or another year. At least take your consultation now.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Bill Soroka (01:04):
Hi everyone. And welcome to the Sign And Thrive podcast for notaries. I would like to introduce you today to my very special guest, Stephanie Maloney owner and client service manager of Premier Estate Planning. Hey Stephanie, thanks for being here.

Stephanie Maloney (01:19):
Hey Bill, thank you for having me.

Bill Soroka (01:21):
Of course, I'm actually looking forward to this conversation because in getting to work with you over the last few weeks now I've learned a lot about estate planning and I know people listening right now are thinking, God, this estate planning, I tuned in for this, but this is something that I'm, I'm passionate about. I think this is part of my legacy here on earth. Somehow, I still don't have that question answered, but I think it's here. And it's clearly something that you're passionate about too.

Stephanie Maloney (01:53):

Bill Soroka (01:54):
And definitely something that ties into your legacy and you've done such a great job with it. First, can you, just for those listening who hear the words, estate planning, what does it mean to you?

Stephanie Maloney (02:08):
To me and versus what the public feels? Well, I think for me, what estate planning truly is, it's about putting our permission slips in place before a problem happens in our lives. You know, we have an accident, we get sick, or of course, die unexpectedly, we don't all live to get, to be older age. And it's about putting your permission slips in place that say, hey, if, if for some reason I can't run my show, I'm saying while I'm competent and while I'm healthy, that if that ever happens to me, these are my people that I want to step into my shoes and effectively run my life; if I'm incapacitated, I've had a stroke or a horrible accident, and now they're taking care of my bills. If I have a young family coordinating care and all of that, that's, that's what per, that's what it is for me. I think most people think about estate planning and think it's for wealthy, older people because listen to the term estate planning, it sounds like I need to have a castle with peasants running around me and I need to have an estate. And it is not about money for most of us. It's about being in control of our decisions under all circumstances for both our medical care and our financial lives.

Bill Soroka (03:24):
You're right. It, I mean, estate planning sounds kinda bougie.

Stephanie Maloney (03:28):

Bill Soroka (03:28):
Sounds like, and I, I feel a lot of people get tripped up on that, but it's really just about a plan for your stuff.

Stephanie Maloney (03:35):

Bill Soroka (03:36):
And one of the things that, that one of the ways that you stood out to me is that you didn't necessarily focus on the death part of it, right? It's not necessarily just what happens when you die. It's what happens when you get incapacitated, which happens a lot. I mean, obviously we all die, right? Death happens more often. There's no escape from that, but incapacitation happens a lot too. Why why is that so important to you?

Stephanie Maloney (04:03):
Well, I think the big reason it's important is because we all skip over it. We all, you know, when we start thinking about implementing documents and I think for many families, you know, if they decide to have children, that's kind of a first adult trigger that you go, ooh, cause you know, now I have somebody I'm here, I'm responsible for, and you start thinking about that person. But again, I think we're mostly thinking about when we die; where's our stuff going to go, how are our kids going to be taken care of? And we really truly skip over that. What if we don't die the first time we try and we're here because obviously we have our modern medicine, it keeps us around and sometimes maybe we shouldn't be here, but we are. And I, I will joke and say to my, especially my single male clients will go, oh, I'm going to be dead and who cares? You know, cause they just, they don't really have anybody they're worried about right? But I say, if you don't have your permission slip in for your medical decision making, you might be here longer than you wanted to be too. So it matters. And it's, it's like, it always is where I start with clients and they're always just taken back like, because they weren't even thinking about that.

Bill Soroka (05:11):
Yeah. So tell, tell us a little bit more of what capacitate, Incapacitation could look like.

Stephanie Maloney (05:16):
Well, Bill, when I, the first thing when people will say to me, what is the most important documents that you think people need? You know, maybe it's for cost or trying to save money or they just don't know where to start. If I say this out loud, most people go, oh yeah. But think about our 18 year olds that surround us. And if you have any 18 year olds in your life, you're not really feeling that they're probably very adult yet, but the government says they are. And so when people ask me that question about which documents are most important? The powers of attorney for both health and financial, because we can't even make a decision for our children that very likely could be in high school at 18. If they're in an accident. Now, if you're in a small town, you know, you might get around these, these rules.

Stephanie Maloney (06:05):
But if we're in a normal sized city, these are not only our permission slips, but they're liability relieving slips for all the people we interact with; the medical professionals, the financial institutions. And we have to really be thoughtful about, hey, what if something happens to me and I'm still here, but I cannot operate and run my life. And it's just, you got to get people thinking about it and you got to get these conversations started before what I say is the house is on fire. You know, now mom's had a stroke and she can't talk to us. She can't write, but she's still here and she can look at us and we're all going, man we never asked her these questions, you know, cremation versus burial. Imagine looking at your 22 year old kid, having those same thoughts in your mind because you never even imagine for a minute, you could be dealing with a younger person that you care for that's facing this.

Stephanie Maloney (07:01):
So when you think about like nursing homes, not everybody in there is older. You know, we had a 32 year old grandson of a client have a stroke. He's 40 today been living in assisted living since then. Why did he have a stroke? Who knows? But it was a horrible experience for the whole family because they didn't have paperwork. They didn't have their permission slips in place. And his poor wife who was a stay at home mom doing her job with her three children. She was in a process called guardianship and conservatorship for four years until his 401k money was gone because a government says that was his and not theirs, which most married families, they feel like it's their pot for the future. So again, that's where most people are saving and you've got yours, they've got theirs. And we say it's ours. But the government says it's individual people. And so many people too say, well, I'm a beneficiary. I of course can do it. Right. No, you know, it's…..

Bill Soroka (08:04):
There's so much more to this and on, so on top of the trauma of dealing with Incapacitation or stroke at 32, which you just don't expect, right?

Stephanie Maloney (08:14):

Bill Soroka (08:14):
Or car accidents or death, then you've got all of this other stuff, paperwork that has to be gone through. So this is, it's almost a, a gift to the, your family.

Stephanie Maloney (08:26):
Mm-Hmm .

Bill Soroka (08:27):
To have these things in order.

Stephanie Maloney (08:29):
And when I, when people, you know, if they're ever, I think cost is a big factor that keeps people at a distance from even investigating formally, you know, taking a consultation cause it's, it's intimidating. And in most states you do have to work with an attorney you know, if you're going to go engage someone, you have to go to a law firm and that's, that's intimidating for most of us. So we just put all these objections in our way without even really knowing if it's factual. And I always will say, if somebody's concerned about cost, I say, well, you know, after you've learned what I've shared with you, if you still decide not to implement documents, to solve these issues that we've discussed, you can rest assured that the cost of the plan you have in place is far more than anything I would've ever sold you. And sometimes people will go, well, I don't, I don't have a plan. And I'm like, well then yours is going to involve courts and attorneys and, and going to cost a lot more for your family and a lot more frustration when they should be able to spend their time and energy focused on caring for the person that's sick.

Bill Soroka (09:35):
I think a lot of people I know every state can be different, but do you, that process that you're talking about when somebody does not have a, a trust in place or a last will and testament that's is, are you referring to probate?

Stephanie Maloney (09:48):
Well, Bill it's through the probate court, it's called guardianship and conservatorship where we're guarding the person, conserving the funds. And if someone doesn't have their power of attorney, for instance, and they go to a 401k firm for their spouse saying, hey, you know, my husband, my wife was in an accident. I need to get in charge of their 401k. The market's crazy. We want to go to cash, whatever they're trying to do, perhaps accessing the money. And the firm says, hey, do you have power of attorney? And of course, most people don't. And they say, well, I'm the beneficiary. This is my spouse of 20 years. And that, you know, they're just going to look at you and go, I understand. But, and you could even know them yourself. They could be your advisor for your 401k or your IRA. And they find out that, gosh, you know, we need a power of attorney. You can't just make these decisions because you're married to each other. And you know, it's, we cannot make assumptions with regards to this type of paperwork because it, it doesn't work out.

Bill Soroka (10:51):
Yeah. Yeah. This is the stuff I don't think we even think about. And you alluded to it a few moments ago with the the objections that we put in place of our own mind, but in your years of experience, cause you and your family have been doing this for how long now?

Stephanie Maloney (11:07):
About 40 years,

Bill Soroka (11:09):
40 years total. And so why do, why do you think people avoid this topic so much? I heard an estimate, real quick even before you answer, I heard an estimate that there's some crazy percentage of people that they think do not, in America anyway, that do not have estate planning. And I did the math on it. It's about 180 million adults that do not have….

Stephanie Maloney (11:33):

New Speaker (11:33):
Their affairs in order. Do you think that's accurate and why aren't people talking about this or…..

Stephanie Maloney (11:37):
For sure I think that's accurate. Well, one of our favorite things to say here at Premier is that Americans' favorite river to lament is the river of denial. You know, that this is going to happen to us. So we think we always have longer, you know, one in four people don't make it to 65. And when my father-in-law started in 1968, that was the same stat. It hasn't really changed. Our longevity is happening on the other side of 65. So I, I think, you know, we just procrastinate and we're not forced to do this. It's not like our taxes that we get a deadline every year where we're supposed to get those filed and taken care of this is up to us. And so we just don't do it. You know, we always tend to put ourselves last, if you're business owners, you know, your, your stuff for your own family goes last, cause you're taking care of your clients and all of that. For some reason, you just go on the back burner. And I think with this, it it's just easy to procrastinate because nobody is forcing our hand. We don't have to do it.

Bill Soroka (12:36):
There's got to be something else though, because Stephanie, I you're helping me out with my own trust. Right. And you sent me an email last week after our, after our consultation with a whole list of whatever the next steps were. I have it in my inbox and I'm passionate about this topic and how important this is and I'm still not doing it. And I'm pretty good at doing things I don't have to do, right? So why is this such a dance for people?

Stephanie Maloney (13:04):
I think there's a laundry list of reasons. You know, sometimes our families aren't perfect and you know that when you're having to sit down and face the reality of what maybe your life is, and it's not so rosy and you know, with social media, of course, I think even as well-seasoned adults, we can fall victim to what we see publicly and think, oh, everybody's perfect. And look at my, my crap show I have with my kids or whatever, you know, or people start thinking about, you know, when you think about who is going to do this job for me? Not everybody has that assumptive family. You know, I would say the families that I serve, probably 90% of them pick their kids, their adult children to ultimately be their people cause they have nice relationships, but not everybody has children. Not everybody has close relationships in their lives.

Stephanie Maloney (13:56):
So when they start thinking about, you know, who could I ask to do this? They kind of get into a, I think a little spiral of like, well maybe I could pick Bill, but oh, you know, I don't know Bill lives so far or maybe I don't like this about Bill. You know, he's good in this, but not this. And we just, again, we just make up excuses, you know? And, and of course the cost we think we know what it costs, but if you're really investigated, when people meet me, they are usually so shocked by our cost. They're like, is that for everything? Yes, because we don't work like a traditional law firm. We realize that you've got to charge the right price for clients. You know, so obviously you're making money, they're getting good service and good quality documents, but we don't have to take advantage of people. And so many people don't know there is other opportunities and options to get these documents implemented in a more comfortable consultative environment at a more reasonable cost. I'm not saying that our costs are cheap, but they're definitely more reasonable. You know, it's an investment in your life, getting your estate planning done.

Bill Soroka (15:02):
Yeah. It, I definitely is. And I can, I was pleasantly surprised with your price point too. And I, what I love about it though, is it makes, there's an accessibility factor there.

Stephanie Maloney (15:12):
mm-hmm .

Bill Soroka (15:12):
Cause I think when people hear estate planning, they do, they automatically think, well I don't even own a house or whatever it is. So why would I spend that? I know they think it's ten thousands, tens of thousands of dollars sometimes. Yeah. And it's not definitely not the case. No, but in most cases for, for us here in this, in, on earth, I think the, but that brings me to another question though. So do you, what's your thoughts on who needs a trust?

Stephanie Maloney (15:45):
Well, let's see who needs a trust? All right. So most people, Bill, I really feel like they think trust are definitely for wealthy people. Now we, we kind of joke around and say that a lot of people, especially before Google was a thing, they would get their estate planning education from like movies and TV. And if you think about anytime you think you've seen a trust represented in that format, it's usually a trust fund beneficiary; that they're wealthy, they're driving around in their sports car, complaining about life, cause it's so hard. So there are trust funds recipient, you know, somebody left money to them, very kind, with rules attached because they knew my beneficiary love them, but they can't control themselves, or love them, but they're too young. You know, whatever the reasons are and a trust allows you to create that kind of holding tank when we have beneficiaries in our life that we're concerned about.

Stephanie Maloney (16:40):
And that could be a two year old, obviously they're not old enough to be a beneficiary yet. And you can be living in an apartment, not own one asset yet, but have kids. I mean, you don't even have a car, but you better have life insurance. And so you need to trust because our minor beneficiaries cannot properly inherit what anyone leaves behind for them with a traditional last will and testament. It will get to them. You know, some people think that if we don't do the right documents, the government gets our money. No, it'll ultimately get to somebody in your family, if you haven't put it down and if you have children, it will get to them. But it ends up in the probate court in guardianship and conservatorship. And then when this minor gets to the age of adulthood 18, then they get their share that's there for them; million dollars, still in high school, great. A hundred thousand dollars on drugs. All right. They're 18. And the … the probate courts, aren't going to go, well, you know, you're not quite ready, Michael. I think we should hold this back. They're 18 and they get. So who, who needs a trust? Anyone who has minor children needs a trust. The will is great because that's the document you say, hey, if we're not here, this is who's going to be the guardian of my, my minor child, because that's always going to go through the courts because they want to make sure the person you nominate can still do the job. Now as we get into our adulthood and maybe you're in your sixties and you don't have a lot of assets, there's a threshold, a dollar value in every state for real property. In Arizona, it's $100,000..

Stephanie Maloney (18:23):
I think in California, it's $150 [000] of property value that will trigger probate if you don't have proper documents. And of course we can also just have stuff money in the bank, jewelry, things like that. In Arizona, that threshold is $75,000. So it just kind of depends. There are ways that we can help families avoid probate without having to execute a trust. But it really depends on their beneficiary situation and what they're trying to accomplish on that side. And that's why it's really important for people to get their education and not just ask their friends, you know, what are you doing? What, what was your situation? Because we don't typically compare everything, you know. She needs a trust. And so you think you need a trust, but did we talk about our backstory? Did we talk about other things that led that person to that decision? Maybe you don't need one, but, and just like, sometimes I get people in here they're like, oh, everybody says I just need a will. And so I just always ask for permission. Well, can I just share with you the result of going down that path versus maybe looking at a revocable trust? cause there's a lot of marketing that goes out to people, especially senior age involving estate planning and trust. And there's a lot of firms that like to do low cost trust in an effort to hopefully get an opportunity to sell you something.

Bill Soroka (19:45):

Stephanie Maloney (19:45):
Because they know, especially when we're dealing with seniors, you know, by the time you get to that age, everybody knows they need to get their stuff done. That's why I say like our average age of client, especially at our seminars, seventy at least cause they're retired. They have time to go to that stuff. And at this point they're like, okay, these people sound like they know what we're doing. It's like, Bill, we got to get this done. Let's just go with them. They sound good, right? Versus you know, back, and they were probably thinking about it for 40 years, especially. Yeah. A lot of times in the relationship, the wife, you know, she's like, we got to get this done. You have kids then you know it. And we just keep kicking the can down the road.

Bill Soroka (20:22):
Yeah. You know, it's, it's so funny because as a notary, I, I love these estate planning appointments that I get sent on because of that. There is this almost relief at the table that they're like they, and I do, I believe most of them have been for 40 years. Like, oh, I really there's been shoulding on themselves for 40 years. we should have a trust. We should be doing this. We should do it. And then they're finally doing it and you can see the peace of mind on their face. And then there's a gift in being a part of that process. Yep. And what, what about age though? Do you think, do you think the, this estate planning conversation should be happening at a younger age?

Stephanie Maloney (21:03):
Yes. When we, part of my service Bill, we do what's called successor education. Like I said, most of our clients, they pick their kids to be their people. And I refer to your estate plan, like your tool kit, you know, you're finally getting your tool kit in place and you say to your son or daughter or whomever, you know, you're going to be my executor. You're going to be my successor trustee, my attorney in fact. And you know, they're going well of course, mom, absolutely. I will. And they're telling you, well, the, the magic book is in the safe at the house and you're, you know, everybody's like, okay, now we know mom and dad have documents, but like, we don't really know what to do. You know, when it comes down to it. So we, we ask our clients that we serve, let us talk to your kids, let us talk to your people that are going to serve.

Stephanie Maloney (21:50):
So they have an understanding and an idea of how to implement and actually start using this paperwork. Because if we have a, an accident and an incapacitation or a sudden death that we weren't expecting, it's in your lap. And now you're like, oh crap, it's me. I'm the person. What do I do? And we don't want our families to get caught up in processes that they don't need to be going through because they did have the right paperwork. They put paperwork in place that said, hey, when we're gone, you don't need attorneys in court. You guys can handle this on your own, but they don't know it. So we, we like to get them involved as soon as possible. And when we work with families that have young adults up to 30 years old, we do powers of attorney for them because we know if those young adults have problems in their lives, more than likely it's going to be their parents or another family member that has to step in and now start doing things for them because they don't have a person yet. You know, they're not in a relationship. And many times they don't have a lot going on yet financially. You know, they're just getting started, but that process costs money. And whether or not they have it, if you want to be able to be the one taking care of your family, you're going to put the money up, get an attorney and go through this process to become their person.

Bill Soroka (23:11):

Stephanie Maloney (23:11):
So I, the younger, the better, and obviously my kids have been eat, sleeping, breathing this. I mean, it's so funny. My, my older son is training with me now and he's 25 and he goes, mom, I think I'm starting to bug my friends because every time he gets together with him, you know, it kind of comes up, cause he's practicing. And he's also recognizing like, holy cow, this stuff is important, you know? And he's been hearing it, but now he's feeling it because he's already lost a couple buddies. He had a, a really good buddy who was doing awesome as an electrician burns over 80% of his, his body in an accident. He's still here, but he's not doing very well. So, you know, and I'm sure his family had to go through all of this cause he is 23. You know, you…..

Bill Soroka (23:55):
Just don't even expect it. Right?

Stephanie Maloney (23:56):
No, No. So you know, our, our kids, once they start adulting, they have adult problems. So I think the sooner, the better.

Bill Soroka (24:07):
So if somebody was listening to this episode right now, what, no matter what, how old they are over 18, 18 to 97. And they wanted to get started and they can pull themselves out of the shame in the shoulding and just get started right now, Mm-Hmm what would, what step would you recommend?

Stephanie Maloney (24:27):
Finding a good professional to take a consultation with? You know, you can start Googling, but you guys know, look how, how much information we have at our fingertips for absolutely everything we want to learn about, which is awesome. I mean, I think back to all the things I would've loved to have had Google for, be able to go on YouTube and learn how to do something, but, or find somebody good on that format, you know that you go, oh, I like their content. They're making sense to me because when we start Googling this subject matter, you know, it kind of depends their point of view, how they're presenting it to you. [I've] seen plenty of times where you're getting a lot of push that, oh, there's no need for a trust here. No need, no need, written by a law firm that does a really good practice doing probates.

Stephanie Maloney (25:14):
You know? Yeah. Probate's not a problem for a law firm that does a state planning that is a big revenue generator for them. So I think, you know, you got to find a professional, you know, everybody who's good will offer free consultations. We help families all over the country and just getting that education and bringing things to your attention that you wouldn't even think to look into. You know, I mean, you just, you're not thinking about this because it's not what you do. And so much of what we see also just leads everybody to wills. And there's lots of popular pers, radio personalities that talk about wills all the time. I wish they would talk more further about different documents, but they don't. So most people just think that's what they need, but find somebody who can really answer your questions and, and not make you feel dumb.

Stephanie Maloney (26:07):
You know, I think that's a big one. Cause I think most of us want to feel intelligent when we're going to, you know, so that's what we'll start doing a little research. So we kind of know what we're talking about. There are so many synonyms for every title we hold in these documents, there's four planning documents just for our monetary stuff. And we have a different title in each one, our people that we put in these documents have their own titles and it's confusing. Yeah. And then I think that keeps you from actually going and doing it because you're like, now you feel like you really don't know what you need. So like next weekend, next weekend. laugh>

Bill Soroka (26:46):
And then 40 years later, you, you might get it done. Absolutely. Well and in particular to our, our audience on this show with notaries what, I'm, what I'm even learning because I've been working on ways to, to market directly to this industry cause I love the appointments so much. On our end they can be lucrative, but they're very rewarding for the reason I described, you know, you're bringing peace of mind. You're part of that peace of mind process. But one of the best experiences or best way to get experiences just to do this stuff yourself, that's what I'm learning. I'm like, oh my gosh, this is what the signers are going through. Mm-Hmm

Stephanie Maloney (27:24):

Bill Soroka (27:25):
This is why they are confusing. This is why when they do DIY paperwork downloaded from the internet, that it looks all discombobulated and they have got questions.

Stephanie Maloney (27:33):
Yeah. And I, you know, you can go on Legal Zoom or whatever that popular, the documents will be fine. I've even reviewed some, sometimes people come in, they're looking for notary. I'll notarize their documents. I'm going to tell them what they've got. And I'm going to try to, you know, market to them a little bit more, but the documents are fine. The problem is the people doing the documents. We don't know the lingo. We don't necessarily know. Are we putting the right people in the right positions? It sounds right. I have met one guy. I'm not sure how he found me, but he calls me, he's done his whole trust and estate plan on Legal Zoom. He emails it over to me to take a look at it because he's just confused. cause his son is in all the positions where he feels like he should be, you know, every signature's first son, not for him.

Stephanie Maloney (28:22):
He's just like, I don't understand. And he had already passed his window of opportunity to get, I guess they'll modify it if it's in within a certain window, you know, if you see errors. So it was outside of that window. And I said, it looks like you put your trust, you know, your son into what should be your position. You know, it's he just didn't know that his son was supposed to only be a trustee. And he was the trustor. Just a little, you know, and I think even that service will offer a legal review for a couple hundred bucks. But why are people there? Cause you don't want to spend that and you know, you're rolling the dice and then of course there's more steps that go into creating a trust than just executing the document. You've got to do some follow up work.

Stephanie Maloney (29:05):
And if you don't have a good coach with you to say, hey, now we got to get these next steps done, later on your family's going to be thinking that what you did didn't work when in fact it was you not finishing your work. But because they don't know what they're doing, they just think, ah, this trust didn't work at all. Cause we're in probate, which can still happen. And that's because I just say, you just didn't get good coaching up front. And is it my job to make sure people's trust are funded? No, but I want my families to have success with these documents. I don't want them to feel like this didn't work at all. Why'd they spend all this money? So I can feel confident. The only families that I know that have ended up having probate issues was because of a car or a little extraneous account they had that just got missed, you know, but for the most part, things get done and it's important.

Bill Soroka (29:59):
Yeah. It's pretty solid. So when it comes to finding that coach or a consultant or a guy, an advisor to walk you through this process is I know part of, I, you mentioned the intimidation process and it is, but should they, how many people should they talk to? Is it like interview three? If the guy's a jerk, do you just deal with it? If he's really good at trust, what's what's an important quality in an advisory?

Stephanie Maloney (30:25):
One thing that I see a lot with traditional law firms, they have people complete huge input forms before they'll even give them an appointment. I would never take a consultation with a firm like that personally myself. They don't need to know that much about you to be able to provide education for you. Their data gathering. They want to see, one, how much they're probably going to charge you in the end for your planning, because a lot of firms charge on your ability to pay, not the work that's needed. And what do I mean by that? They do a formal intake. They see your worth $10,000,000, pieces of real property, this and that. Your plan's probably going to cost more than the guy who's worth $3 [000,000], but the guy who's worth $3 [000,000], his stuff could actually be more complicated. And that's how we charge families based on their work.

Stephanie Maloney (31:14):
You could have the same, you know, that $10,000,000 family, maybe they just have a really expensive home, couple bank accounts, a brokerage account, some cars. It's not complicated it's they just have good wealth, you know. Good for them, they did well. But they shouldn't be punished in their planning fees just because they can afford it. So I would not take a consultation if they want me to fill out a ten page inquiry. They should be able to provide a free consultation for you. And as far as number of people, I don't know if you hit it the first time. I think it's important you feel good about who you're sitting with. Yeah. You know, don't go strictly with cost. Obviously, if this person's $10,000 and this person's $5 [000], you really like the $10 [000], well maybe you should tell them. I really like enjoy you, but your price is so out out of the ballpark, can you work with me?

Stephanie Maloney (32:05):
You know? But I think for me, I know how I do things. It's about how I feel about who I'm sitting across. And I always tell the families that we're serving. I'm like, I hope we're going to be in each other's lives until either you're gone or I'm gone. We treat our clients like fam, it's more of a family. They get our cell phones. You got to feel like you have that level of comfort in my opinion, to ask those silly questions because everybody thinks their questions are dumb. When we're in seminars, I make people stand up. I'm like ask that question. That's a great question because everybody's got the same one, you know? So I just think it may take you multiples, but I, I know a lot of our clients, they don't go anywhere else once they come here. So we just make them feel good.

Stephanie Maloney (32:45):
We answer their questions and, and we bring in the whole family, if they want to, you know, sometimes they want to bring their kids in. They might be my age because they're like, yeah, the kids have been bugging us. We need to get this done. Do you mind if our kids come? I can't imagine somebody would say no, but maybe they do. Maybe they would want to charge them two planning fees. I don't know. So just make sure they feel right and you'll know it. We all know, you know, we've dealt with sales people and just different people that are like, ugh, no bedside manner. Right? Like horrible doctor. You're like, so same thing. Just….. feel.

Bill Soroka (33:18):
Yeah. I, I love that. And I think that's probably why I feel so comfortable with you as well because and most of the people listening right now, we're, we're in a relationship based business.

Stephanie Maloney (33:29):
Mm-Hmm .

Bill Soroka (33:29):
And we, we get an opportunity to at least hear about estate planning and living trust and last wills, or at least the medical directives all the time. That's our everyday life. And finding somebody to refer to is a little more challenging than I'd like to, I'd like it to be right. I want somebody, I, that, if I said, hey, call Stephanie, Stephanie's going to answer the phone. Be cool and give information, right?

Stephanie Maloney (33:56):
Mm-hmm .

Bill Soroka (33:56):
And treat people respectfully. You don't always get that in this industry. So thank you. You it's pretty refreshing.

Stephanie Maloney (34:02):
Well, and to your point about referrals, I, I've been burned a couple of times giving referrals, you know, to tax professional that I actually hadn't used, but I met them, thought they were a good person learned later, not so much. So now I do not give referrals unless I know, unless I've at least experienced their service, sat with them and I know because that, it does matter. And when you know that you're handing your, your client off to somebody, who's going to treat them like you do. It feels good, you know? Yeah. You know, you don't have to worry, like what are they going to say? Or do they, you know, you just have full faith and confidence that this is going to go well, and it's going to enhance what I've already done for them because they go, oh man, that was a great referral. Thank you so much for introducing me to those people, whatever, air conditioning, plumbing, estate planning, and what I think the most important part in that referral process is with estate planning whether or not you want to admit you have your documents, cause a lot of people, they don't want you to know they don't have their stuff yet. Right?

Stephanie Maloney (35:05):
So they want to pretend they know how all this goes and understand. I, I still will say, well, I know, but you know what? I'd like you to still sit with me, just, I want to show you what I show people so that you can feel confident in how I'm going to educate your clients. And usually they finally will come back and go, well, you know, I need to do this stuff too. Right. In order to really hand it off and feel good about it, I think they've got to hear the message themselves. Yeah. Cause then they, they can also talk about it or when they're now hearing conversations, they can chime in or, you know, just have a little bit more to say with confidence, I call it being conversationally competent in this arena.

Bill Soroka (35:51):
Yeah. Which is super important. And then also it's just that, you know, several years ago I prioritized peace of mind for myself and my life has been so much better. And this has been one of those things that's been stuck in my, in my mind that I've been shoulding my all over myself on it. I got to do this. So I'm grateful for the opportunity. And I promise Stephanie, I'm going to answer that email and get you that information so we can get the ball rolling on this. As we close out today, do you have any closing comments about the importance of getting your stuff together?

Stephanie Maloney (36:25):
Hmm. Do it, you know, don't, don't wait another month, another year at least take your consultation, figure out what you don't know. So at least you can get that ball rolling because I call it plant. We're like farmers, once we've planted that seed that you're thinking about it sometimes becomes a thorn. Cause you're like, let it stay there a little bit too long, you know? But just, just do it. Don't be scared or intimidated by the process. You got to figure out what you don't know. I mean that's it.

Bill Soroka (37:01):
Yeah. Yeah. Stephanie, thank you so much. If you'd like to connect with Stephanie she makes herself very available. You can just visit notarycoach.com and we'll have links plus in the show notes right underneath we'll have links, links directly to how to contact Stephanie. And I'm sure we'll be working a lot together. So thank you so much for being here.

Stephanie Maloney (37:21):
Awesome. Thank you so much, Bill for having me.

Bill Soroka (37:25):
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Sign And Thrive podcast for notaries brought to you by the notary E Journal. Notaries all over the country, including California, Texas, and Florida are raving about how efficient this journal makes their appointments. Here's what Paul has to say about the ID scan feature.

Speaker 4 (37:43):
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Bill Soroka (38:05):
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--- End of Transcription ---



This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service
Intro music provided courtesy of Fan Fiqtion


This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service

This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service
Intro music provided courtesy of Fan Fiqtion


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