Estate planning is a process of putting together documentation that will implement your wishes with respect to how and when you want your assets distributed upon your death. It may also include nominating a guardian for minor children, choosing individuals to serve as trustees of your assets to provide financial protection and oversight, and addressing ongoing business concerns. You should review and update your estate plan as your family circumstances and estate change.
Estate Planning may include:
- Non-Probate Transfers
- Financial Management Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Directives
- Beneficiary Designations
- Special Needs Planning
- Naming a Guardian for Minor Children
- Probate Avoidance
- Asset Protection
We believe in the team approach to estate planning and are willing to work with our clients’ advisors, including financial planners, investment advisors, insurance representatives, accountants and when appropriate, other family members. By doing this, clients receive personalized advice applicable to their situation and follow-up assistance to be sure their plan is properly implemented.
When to start
Estate planning is important at all stages of life. For example, for individuals just starting college, powers of attorney and non-probate transfers may be all that is needed. Young families should consider Wills to nominate guardians for minor children, and perhaps a trust to be sure funds are available to raise their children. As assets increase in value and/or complexity, more comprehensive planning should be considered to achieve estate planning objectives. Retirees should plan early so they can enjoy their retirement years and prepare for unforeseen changes in circumstances and possible long term health care needs.
Where to begin
To get started on your personal estate plan and/or business succession plan today, call our office and set up a complimentary consultation (for new clients) with one of our attorneys.
What to bring
To get the most out of your initial consultation, you should bring with you:
- Any previous Estate Planning and Business Documents
- Powers of Attorney
- Copies of Deeds to Real Estate Owned (including any timeshare properties)
- List of all of Your Assets (including value, ownership and beneficiary information)
- Beneficiary Change Forms for Retirement Accounts and Life Insurance Policies
What to expect
You will meet with one of our attorneys who will review your individual situation, discuss your personal goals and expectations, and educate you on the options available to accomplish your goals. For many clients this first meeting is an opportunity to learn more, ask questions and determine the decisions that will need to be made. In addition, this first meeting is designed for you to get acquainted and develop a rapport with the attorney (and staff, if appropriate) who will actually be providing services to you. Additional conferences may be scheduled as needed so that clients feel comfortable that they understand their choices and how best to implement their personal plan.
We don’t stop there
While many firms provide estate planning documents, we believe it is just as important to help clients complete their planning by assisting with funding of trusts, changing beneficiary designations, transferring real estate, etc. We are available to review existing estate plans and make recommendations as needed for revisions whether due to changes in your wishes, circumstances or changes in the laws. We also provide administration services so when the time comes to implement your plan, we will be available to assist your designated representatives in carrying out your wishes.