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BILLERICA, MASS.-First Tupperware, now estate planning. Attorney James Haroutunian borrowed from his experience as the parent of two preschoolers to come up with home-based “will-signing parties.” “I know the mindset of the young parent,” Haroutunian said. “Convenience is number one.” Haroutunian’s will-signing parties streamline the estate-planning process to one meeting where groups of at least five couples or individuals simply sign their wills. Both parties save time because documents are drafted with the help of electronic and telephone communication and Haroutunian benefits by executing multiple estate plans in one evening. Last November, Haroutunian started by hawking his idea at holiday shopping nights hosted by daycare centers for home sale vendors. Through that approach and by reaching out to his own network, Haroutunian collected about 40 new clients through seven home parties. He offers a volume discount based on the number of couples at a party. Each couple attending cuts the base rate of $500 by $25, up to a $225 discount for 10 or more couples. “I was surprised to see that kind of turnout before the holidays,” he said. Some homework Haroutunian compares his concept to a Tupperware party, but it’s not that simple. His clients have homework before the event. Haroutunian prescreens his new clients to determine if they are eligible for the basic family estate plan through an e-mailed questionnaire, and resolves questions via telephone or e-mail. The clients see a draft will before the party. Clients witness each other’s signatures but are not privy to other clients’ documents, Haroutunian said. Michael Whitty, the chairman of the wealth and nontax estate-planning considerations group of the American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, said he likes the idea from a client service and convenience perspective. Although he’s not a solo practitioner and is unlikely to market his services in the same way Haroutunian does, Whitty has often brought estate-planning documents to clients’ homes for signatures. One signing turned into a festive occasion when the clients served wine to their witnesses, Whitty said. “Apart from getting a drop of Merlot on one of the powers of attorney, it worked out well,” Whitty said. Haroutunian’s approach is sound for clients with relatively simple estate-planning needs, such as couples in a first marriage who have no children from prior relationships or marriages, said Sanford Fisch, chief executive officer of the San Diego-based American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. “You want to uncover these things so there aren’t heirs popping up down the road,” Fisch said. Fisch also said the lower cost plan and lack of office visits might help people with straightforward legal needs clear the hurdle that keeps many people from drafting a will in the first place-procrastination. “Anything you can do to motivate people to get their estate planning addressed is good,” he said. Being invited to a party hosted by one of their friends can help people follow through with estate planning, Haroutunian said. “Because they’ve set a date it gets people past procrastination,” Haroutunian said.

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