Estate Planning

WILLS -- TRUSTS -- ESTATES

Protect your family. Design your legacy.

Estate planning is one of the most important steps any person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for in their absence. Though often overlooked or put off in favor of more immediate concerns, a comprehensive estate plan can resolve a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies: What is the state of their financial affairs? What real and personal property do they own? Who gets what? Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership?

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We do not offer a "one size fits all" estate plan. We form a working relationship with our clients. We educate you, take the time to get to know you and your family. We will discuss your concerns, your goals, and will gladly and patiently answer all of your questions. Our goal is to create an estate plan that is exactly right for you.

Whether you need a simple will or an entire living trust package, we are determined to craft a plan that will protect the people you love.

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So many law firms print out a few form documents and send you on your way. It feels like everything is under control, until the day the plan needs to work and it doesn't. Everyday people die with estate plans that were never fully funded or kept up with the changing laws because their lawyer did not keep in touch with them and left them to believe that the dusty binder on the shelf was all they needed. We've worked hard to create a different option for our clients. We want to actively care for our clients, keep up with the changes in their lives and the changes in the law. Your legacy and family are important to us.

This is why we created a specialized approach to estate planning. First off, we charge a flat fee for your initial, fully customized estate planning package. We want you to rest assured that you won't have surprise fees and costs. Then, everyone who completes their estate planning with us has the option to enroll in our Personal Estate Counsel Membership Plan. Schedule an appointment to find out more.

A unique plan for your unique family.

For families with adult children

We listen to you. You've worked hard to build your nestegg. If you plan on leaving something behind for your children, we know that it isn't just about money. Many of our clients want an estate plan that serves as a guiding hand for their adult children after they are gone, a final act of parenting with love. We take a comprehensive look at your situation, your goals, and craft a plan of giving that is suited to your particular children. Your children were different when they where young, perhaps they've grown into adults with different skills and needs.

It's not just about the kids. A solid estate plan includes protections for you while you are alive. A power of attorney for financial affairs will allow your loved ones to access funds for your benefit if you are unable to care for yourself. An advanced health care directive empowers your designated agent to tell the doctors your wishes if you are incapacitated.

For families with young children.

Did you know that if you do not have an appropriate plan that addresses the care of your children, the court will choose who will raise your minor children in the event something happens to you and your spouse? Scary but true! The court, without any personal knowledge about your or your family, will appoint someone to care for your children and that someone may not have the same values, morals, religious beliefs, or educational philosophy as you. Can you imagine your children being raised in a manner other than how you had hoped and dreamed?

Even worse, without a proper protocol in place, your children could end up in foster care. This could happen temporarily until an appropriate person who is willing to take your children can be reached, or this could happen permanently if no available candidates who are willing to raise your children can be found and a proper guardian cannot be appointed at all.

Such tragic scenarios can easily be avoided by proper planning today. If the most precious assets in your estate are your children, this should be incentive enough to make sure yourdesired "back-up parents" are appropriately nominated, and provided for, in an estate plan.

Life is unpredictable. You never know when someone will need to step into your shoes.

Take the first step toward protecting your children. Contact me and find out how. I am not only an estate-planning attorney, I am first and foremost a mother who understands the importance of protecting and caring for your children.

For families with college bound children.

Many parents don't realize that when their child turns eighteen medical and financial privacy laws may prevent them from helping their child in an emergency. This is why we have specialized packages for young adults to name their parents as their health care and financial agents. These important documents will give you the power and access to help your child in an emergency.

For blended families.

Even if you have already completed an estate plan of your own, a divorce or a new marriage typically calls for significant changes to your plan. Things can get especially complicated when there are multiple parents and mutliple children.

Fortunately, there are good options for blended families who want to ensure that certain items in the estate are reserved for certain children. The first step I take when working with blended families is to help define the expectations of the individuals. This can be uncomfortable, but it is important work. Going through the process is a gift to your children because it helps to avoid the hard feelings and expense of litigation that can result from misunderstandings. It is also a peace of mind gift to yourselves. Once we agree on the goals, we draft legal documents to ensure these expectations will be met.