Estate/Financial Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a general term used to cover a plan that places your assets in the best possible position, both while you are alive and after you are deceased.  This can sometimes require the drafting of both wills and trusts working in combination with one another, as well as leaving inheritances, ensuring bank and retirement accounts go to the beneficiary of your choice, leaving money for your funeral, ensuring your final wishes are known and carried out, and taking all legal steps to avoid estate taxes if applicable.  We offer all of these services and more.

How Does Estate Planning Work?

Estate planning usually begins with a free consultation to determine what services you and your family will need.  After this consultation, we will likely need to obtain copies of financial documents from you.  Often times, these can be sent via regular mail, fax, or e-mail.  We will then schedule a time to meet with you, either in person or by telephone, to discuss your options and determine how you would like to proceed.  We will then draft all necessary documents and either have you come into our office to sign them or send them to you with instructions on how to make them valid and enforceable.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

While there are plenty of self-help options available for low prices, each one will require a certain level of comfort with the subject matter – and as a general rule, the cheaper the option, the more research and work you will have to do yourself.  Continuing education courses on this subject are littered with recent cases showing that the courts are bound by the letter of the law, not the intent of the parties.  For example, a recent case where a mother named every item in her estate and left them all to her son then inherited more property before dying was not found to have also left the new property to her son.  In virtually every one of these cases, a well-drafted will would have avoided the problems that led to property going to the wrong person, expensive taxes being paid, and expensive litigation between family members emptying the coffers of the estate.

Fees for our firm to help plan your estate are only slightly higher than many of the do-it-yourself sites; additionally, we can offer more services than many self-help sites can offer due to their do-it-yourself nature.  Just a few hundred dollars extra pays for peace of mind about documents that will be very critical in your family’s future – and that few hundred dollars could save you and your family thousands (if not more) in taxes and/or future litigation fees.

If you have not already planned for your estate, or you would like to review what has been done to see if any changes should be made, please do not hesitate to contact us today.