how we can help
We can’t help you avoid death, or plan for how and when death will occur. We can help you with the practical aspects: where will your assets go? who will pay the bills? who will take care of your child and your child’s inheritance? If your parent has not made plans, and is no longer able to do so, we can help you make decisions regarding their care.
- If your child is under the age of 18, who do you want to care for him if he is orphaned?
- If your child is a young adult, will she need help managing her inheritance until she is older?
- If you have a child with a disability, are you worried about what will happen to him when you can no longer care for him?
- Is you child in a problematic marriage? Does she have substance abuse, credit, or tax problems?
- If you have made substantial gifts to one child, do you want to equalize the inheritance of your other children?
- Are you considering treating your children differently?
- Are you contemplating a second marriage, or in one now? Do you want to protect your assets for your children but still take care of your spouse?
- Do you have a partner that you want to provide for, but do not intend to marry?
- Have you recently lost a spouse to death or divorce?
- Do you want to limit, or eliminate, a bequest to your spouse?
- Are your kids already fighting over who will get the beach house?
- Do you have a small business that you would like to transfer to a child?
- Do you have cherished possessions to pass on to your loved ones?
- Are most of your assets in retirement accounts or life insurance?
- Do you have a valuable art or other collection?
- Do you own property in a foreign country or multiple states?
- Do you have a pet that you want cared for?
health & disability
- Do you want to leave instructions for your health care if you are unable to make decisions?
- Who will pay your bills if you become disabled? How do you choose the best person?
- If I appoint an agent, do I give up control?
- Are you concerned that your elderly father isn’t taking care of himself the way he used to?
- Do you have particular wishes for your funeral?
People plan because they care about their families. Estate planning is a gift to the people they love. They want to make sure their spouse and children are taken care of. They care about their legacy. They want their heirs to accept their wishes, without fighting. They fear they may pay more in estate tax than they should have to. It is also a gift to yourself. When you plan, you make the decisions, not the state or the courts.
They also worry about who will take care of them if they become disabled. They’re not sure the default plan, the rules of intestacy and property ownership, will work for them. Estate planning reduces your anxiety, giving you the sense that your affairs are in order.
Some Reasons You May Avoid Estate Planning
Thinking about estate planning can make you think about death. You may have to make decisions about your family or business that you would rather not face. Meeting with a lawyer and gathering all the information the lawyer needs is a time-consuming headache. It costs money. Much of estate planning is not for your personal benefit. The results may become manifest only when you are no longer alive.
what happens if you don’t plan
Your best friend told you that if you didn’t have a will your assets would go to the state
American law provides numerous substitutes for an intentional, formal, plan. If you have assets titled jointly with another, those assets pass to the surviving owner. If you have designated a beneficiary on an account, a life insurance policy, or a retirement account, those assets will pass to your designated beneficiary. Everything else will pass according to the intestacy statute of your state, which may have no relationship to the disposition you want. If you have children under the age of 18, a guardian must be appointed to manage their intestate share.
If you become incompetent, and you have no financial power of attorney, a guardian may be appointed by the court. If you have no health care power of attorney, a legal surrogate may make health care decisions for you.
We give you a roadmap to guide you through planning your estate
- In our first meeting we discuss your concerns and your desires for your care during your life and your beneficiaries after your death. We don’t ask you to fill out a questionnaire or other paperwork.
- We send you drafts of your documents for your review, along with a memo explaining your plan.
- Our focus is always to recommend sufficient planning in your best interest and the best interests of your beneficiaries
- We do not make recommendations that unnecessarily complicate your plans or documents, but will always discuss the pros and cons of a Will vs a Revocable Living Trust approach
You will always have direct access to your attorney to answer your questions and concerns promptly.
how we charge
We can give you an estimate of the cost at our initial meeting. If you choose not to engage our services, we do not charge for the initial meeting.
You've changed my mind about lawyers. With deepest gratitude.
Thank you, Bonnie and Sarah. What joy to know such good attorneys!