Our comprehensive estate planning services cater to individuals at every stage of life, ensuring their assets and wishes are protected. Whether you’re just starting out, growing your family, or preparing for retirement, we offer tailored solutions to safeguard your legacy. With our expertise, you can have peace of mind knowing that your estate plan is thorough, adaptable, and aligned with your unique circumstances.
A will determines how a person’s assets are distributed after they pass away and must be validated during probate. A pour-over will is used in conjunction with a revocable living trust to ensure control over the distribution of all assets. This type of will can save beneficiaries time and money that might otherwise be spent on legal disputes.
A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries without going through the probate process. It’s created by you who designates a trustee to manage the trust assets.
This type of trust is considered revocable because it can be changed during the your life, and can be used to control the distribution of assets, including limiting distributions based on certain circumstances.
Using a revocable living trust can help protect your assets now and in the future, and is a popular choice for estate planning.
When completing an estate plan, one important reason for parents with minor children is to name guardians who will raise their children in case of the parents’ death or incapacity.
Failing to name guardians may lead to undesirable outcomes such as temporary or permanent placement by strangers.
An effective estate plan prevents such situations and may also include medical powers of attorney for minor children, allowing parents to provide special instructions on how they want their children to be raised and to list their pediatricians and dentists.
A special needs trust is a legal arrangement designed to provide financial support to loved ones with disabilities while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security.
The trust is managed by a trustee who is responsible for using the trust funds to pay for the beneficiary’s needs that are not covered by public benefits.
The purpose of a special needs trust is to enhance the beneficiary’s quality of life and provide for their supplemental needs without disqualifying them from receiving government benefits.
A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
These documents can be used to appoint someone to make personal and financial decisions. The use of the power of attorney allows those involved to avoid conservatorship, the complicated and expensive process by which the court appoints someone to function in this capacity.
The Advance Health Care Directive empowers your chosen agents to make medical decisions, sign consents/releases with medical providers, and comply with federal laws (HIPAA) on your behalf if you are incapacitated or hospitalized. It also serves as your living will regarding end-of-life choices. This document is a necessary tool to ensure that your healthcare decisions are made according to your wishes.
Guardianship is an important aspect of estate planning when it comes to minor children. If a parent dies or becomes incapacitated, it ensures that their children will be taken care of by someone they trust.
Without a guardianship designation, a court will have to step in and choose a guardian for the child. This can be a stressful and uncertain process for everyone involved.
By planning ahead and designating a guardian, parents can have peace of mind knowing their children will be cared for by someone they trust.
Estate Planning involves preparing for the well-being of you and your loved ones during and after your life. This involves drafting legal documents that specify your desires for medical care, children’s care, and asset distribution.
Depending on your age, different types of estate planning may be necessary. For instance, after turning 18, a financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney may be useful in the event of incapacity or hospitalization. As you age or accumulate assets, it becomes important to protect those assets, plan for your children’s future, and determine how their inheritance will be handled.
Finally, creating a comprehensive estate plan at 65 or older is crucial for guiding your family and preserving your legacy.
We have an easy, 3-step process designed to have your trust and other estate planning documents created and signed in 2 to 4 weeks:
* The first step is to attend your Take Control of Your Future Now Session. You’ll fill out a secure online questionnaire (“Family Profile”) before we meet so we can make the best use of our time together. At this Zoom session, you’ll learn all about your options and our flat fees. When you are ready to move forward, we’ll email you an engagement letter and invoice, both of which can be executed online.
* Next is your Estate Plan Design Meeting. We’ll roll up our sleeves and design your trust and other estate planning documents, working off the information you provided in your Family Profile. After this session, I’ll draft your documents, and send a copy for your review about two weeks later. We’ll then make any changes or updates you’d like to make. When everything is good to go, we’ll coordinate an in-person Signing Ceremony.
*Your Signing Ceremony is where you’ll sign your documents with the proper legal formalities, in front of two witnesses and a notary. We can have this session at our office, your home, or in a Zoom meeting. Following execution of the documents, we are available for free, unlimited lifetime consultations regarding your estate plan.
Let me start by saying what we do NOT need! We do NOT need account statements, social security numbers, or tax returns. We DO need information on what kind of assets you own (house, retirement account, life insurance, etc.), their relative value, and how they are titled (jointly, individually, etc.) Beyond that, we simply need answers to questions about your personal estate planning preferences, including:
* Who you would want raising your minor children if something happened to you and your spouse or partner
* Who you want to be in charge of your children’s money until they are old enough to mange it themselves
* Who you want making medical and financial decisions for you in the event of your incapacity
Don’t worry if you don’t have the answers to these questions right away! You’ll have plenty of time to think things over throughout the process.
Our process is designed to have your estate planning documents signed within 2-4 weeks of your Take Control of Your Future Now Session. It depends in part on your schedule and how long it takes for you to review your draft documents.
To prepare for the future, there are various documents that you should include in your estate plan, each with different purposes. Consulting with an attorney is crucial in deciding which documents you require. The following is some of the common estate plan documents:
Additionally, you should update your beneficiary designations and create a Letter of Instruction or Intent to clarify your intentions after you pass away.
It depends! Estate planning is not one size fits all, so it’s hard for us to give you a quote without knowing more about you. Even if you believe your situation is relatively simple, there are likely nuances you are not considering. We discuss our fees and process at length in the Peace of Mind Planning Session, after we have counseled you on all your options. We do not discuss our fees outside the Peace of Mind Planning Session.
We understand that cost is an important factor in choosing an attorney, and that estate planning is a significant investment for many. It is our goal to be as transparent and fair as possible. For that reason, we offer flat fees as opposed to billing by the hour, so you know exactly what your investment will be. We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with our services, we will make it right, or refund your money.
Finally, we will only recommend planning with us if the amount you would save by doing an estate plan is greater than our fee.
You nominate legal guardians in a Will, or a Pour-Over Will that goes along with your Revocable Living Trust. If you pass away without nominating guardians, a judge will make the decision for you. You also run the risk that family members will fight over who gets custody because you didn’t make your preference clear.
Our firm goes the extra mile and helps you nominate short-term guardians to care for your children in the interim while the long-term guardians are appointed. And did you know you can “confidentially exclude” people you would never want raising your children no matter what? We can help with that!
You have two options with your estate planning: a will-based plan, or a living trust-based plan. The vast majority of my clients choose a living trust. A living trust is a document where you appoint a chosen individual to manage your assets should you become incapacitated and distribute them to your family at your death. It is almost always preferable to a will because it is designed to avoid the time, expense, and publicity of probate, which a will cannot avoid.
It comes as a surprise to many of my clients that wills do not avoid probate court…they guarantee it!
I go over the difference between a will and a living trust in depth during the Take Control of Your Future Now Session. The most common question I get at the end of this session is, “Why would anybody ever do a will?!” Ultimately, however, the decision is yours
Probate is the court-supervised process of administering your estate upon your death. If you die without a will, your estate must go through probate before all your money can be distributed to your heirs. And if you die WITH a will…your estate still has to go through probate! The only way to avoid probate is with a revocable living trust.
What’s so bad about probate? Even a simple probate can take years to complete and eats up as much as 5-7% of the estate assets in the meantime. It’s also a public proceeding that makes your will available to anybody who wants to look at it.
Although a will is subject to the probate process, a living trust is designed to bypass it completely.
Unfortunately, even a simple will is still subject to the expense and delays of probate. It’s not the complexity of the document itself that cause the time and expense, it’s the probate process itself. For this reason, most of my clients choose to create a living trust instead of a will, which is designed for simplicity and to avoid the probate process completely.
However, as part of an overall, comprehensive estate plan, a special “pour-over” will is used to appoint guardians for any minor children alive at your death.
Estate planning in putting legal documents in place that ensure your assets will go to the people you want, the way you want, when you are gone. It’s about making this as easy as possible on your loved ones during an otherwise difficult time. And we all care about that, no matter how much (or little) money we have.
It’s also about appointing people to manage your property and make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated, something that matters to all of us regardless of wealth status.
A power of attorney lets you appoint someone to manage your property in the event of your incapacity. You will name someone you trust implicitly as your “agent”. They will step into your shoes and pay your bills, file your taxes, manage your business, etc. if you cannot.
We include a power of attorney for both spouses in every estate plan we create.
We include a health care proxy and living will for both spouses in every estate plan we create.
All other estate planning documents (power of attorney, health care proxy, etc.) are typically recreated as it is more cost-effective.
The main point is that your documents can (and probably will be) updated as your life, your assets, and the law all change.