In the first telephone call, the prospective client will provide facts
and Mr. Sturdevant will apply legal concepts, helping the client to
better understand the process and helping Mr. Sturdevant form
perspectives on the case. The conclusion of this first contact may
resolve whether the client wishes to hire the attorney and the attorney
wishes to represent the client.
Important information includes: 1. An itemized list of assets,
showing a value on each asset and the exact title name of each asset,
including whether each asset is titled with a beneficiary designation
and if so, to whom; 2. a similar list of debts.
If the client wants estate planning, a
comprehensive Questionnaire may be provided to the client; if the
comprehensive Questionnaire is not necessary, a short form is available.
If the client wants advice regarding the things necessary to
be done after the death of an individual and thus the
administration of the decedent's estate, the client needs to provide a
detailed list of the family members, with addresses and phone numbers,
etc. and the client should produce or find the location of the original
signed Last Will and Testament and/or Trust Agreement. If there
are no such documents, the client needs to state information regarding
the closest relatives under state law (such as spouse and the children).
If an incapacitated/disabled person is the concern, the
first question is whether a Durable Power of Attorney for health care or
finances has previously been signed and whether the limited person has
understanding to now sign such a document, or whether a
court proceeding in Probate Court to initiate a guardianship/conservatorship is necessary.
It is advisable to have a personal meeting in the office. However
there are exceptions: the office has represented clients in courts of the
state of Missouri, Personal Representatives (this job previously
called "Executor") and Conservators/Guardians who reside in California,
Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma,
Nebraska, Florida and other states. In many of these instances the
client was able to conduct business without a personal meeting in Mr.
Sturdevant's Kansas City, Missouri office.