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Great estate planning starts with understanding your values. There are no “one-size-fits-all” plans. We want to understand you, your family, and the issues that are most important to you. This comes out of discussions about a few primary topics:

Incapacity Planning – A good estate plan does not just focus on what happens when we die. It recognizes that you may face a time in your life when you are unable to manage your own affairs and make your own decisions.

Common questions and issues:

What areas of your life and your family members’ lives would be impacted if you were ever incapacitated by an accident, health condition, or effects of age?

Who do you have in your life who you would trust to make decisions regarding the management of your financial and health affairs?

What financial and health care powers do you want those people to have?

What are your beliefs about life-sustaining treatment in the event you are ever in a terminal condition?

Inheritance Planning – You have worked hard and been good stewards of what you own. You now have the opportunity to decide what you will do with those things when you have passed away.

Common questions and issues:

What do you want to accomplish with the estate you have built at the end of your life?

Do you want to make any specific gifts of items of personal or sentimental value?

Do you want beneficiaries to receive their inheritance outright, or over time?

Do you have any charitable purposes that you want to contribute to at the end of your life?

Are you concerned that any of your beneficiaries could face pressures or litigation that could jeopardize the inheritance you leave?

Method of Distribution – Once we understand your values and intentions, we will help you to understand the different tools and methods you can use to carry out your wishes.

Common questions and issues:

Who should be in charge of carrying out your wishes?

Are you concerned with the idea of your estate going through the probate process?

What are the fastest, least expensive, and most efficient ways to carry out your goals?

Tax Planning – Our clients face estate tax, capital gain tax, and income tax issues when planning their estate. Our planning process includes a review of your planning needs in light of those issues.

Through a discussion of these principals, we are able to design a plan that is personalized for you and your family and ensures that your wishes are clearly memorialized in your plan. This process also results in estate planning instruments that are what you actually need and want, rather than the potential of an attorney pushing you to create a plan with tools that are more expensive or complex than you want.

 

The Planning Process

So what does planning look like for you? For most clients, the process breaks down into three basic steps:

  • We meet (in person or by video or telephone conference) to discuss your wishes and planning options. The first meeting is free and most clients only need that one planning meeting. More complex planning or clients with many questions might need more than one. Before moving forward, you will be able to select the planning tools you want and receive answers to any cost and billing questions you have.
  • Once you decide what you want in your plan and provide us with detailed answers to our questions, we draft your estate plan to your specifications.
  • Review and Signing. Once your plan is ready, we will either i) hold a final meeting to review and sign the plan, or ii) send your documents to you with instructions for how to sign them. If you select the second option, we will be happy to hold a video or telephone conference to review and explain the documents before you sign them.

Most clients are surprised to learn that this entire process usually only takes a couple of weeks to complete (and possibly faster if a time-sensitive circumstance exists). Many are also pleasantly surprised by the reasonable cost of their estate plan – and with our menu of flat fees for estate planning tools, you will be able to know the costs of your planning tools before you decide which ones you want. We want you to be comfortable with this process.

For a minimal investment of time and a reasonable expense, you can have a robust estate plan in place in a matter of days. What are you waiting for? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and get the estate plan you have wanted for years.

NOTE: When discussing values and concerns, many of our clients raise the issue of protecting assets from potential expenses of a nursing home. Our firm provides Medicaid Planning services to many of our clients. While these issues often appear similar to some estate planning techniques, the are substantially different. The process and costs outlined above for estate planning services are not representative of those for a Medicaid Planning case. Click here for more information regarding our firm’s Medicaid Planning services.

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