I provide estate planning services to people from all walks of life – such as young individuals, parents, business owners, and retirees. Many people think estate planning is only for the wealthy – but that is simply not true. Estate planning addresses so much more than just transferring or preserving wealth.
Many people put off or neglect estate planning until it is too late or a significant event occurs such as the birth of a child, death of a loved one, or close friend. The reason many people neglect estate planning is simple – no one likes to talk or think about their own death or incapacity. It’s natural to not want to spend time thinking about our own mortality.
But what about your loved ones? What about your spouse, children, and other family members that you may leave behind? Who will care for your children? Would you want your children’s guardian to raise your children a certain way? Would you want the guardian of your children to make sure your children are exposed to specific life experiences?
Who will make decisions regarding your medical care if you become incapacitated? How should those decisions be made? Do you have specific ethical or spiritual wishes that you want the decision maker to respect?
What about your assets? Who gets what, when, and how much?
What about your business? Who will be responsible for managing the business? Will it be wound up and terminated or sold? Will ownership of a family business be transferred? To whom? Which family member is responsible enough to manage the business?
What does an estate plan do?
Proper estate planning allows you to make informed decisions as to who will get your property, who will care for your children, and who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. An estate plan allows you to control your property during life, provide for yourself as well as your family in the event of incapacity or death, and facilitate the preservation and transfer of your assets to whomever you wish.
Most importantly – an estate plan allows you to have peace of mind that your family will be cared for and your wishes respected in the event you become incapacitated or pass away.
What does estate planning address?
A proper estate plan will answer many of the questions above by addressing many of the following issues:
- Your plan could provide for who will raise your children if both parents die.
- Your plan could provide instructions for medical care and end of life decision making.
- Your plan could provide for transitioning a family business to the next generation.
- Your plan could provide for the care of a child with special needs.
- Your plan should consider how any digital assets and accounts will be handled.
- Your plan could provide for the care of the family pet.
- Your plan could include provisions for managing your medical care and assets in the event of your incapacity.
- Your plan could provide options to protect your estate from creditors.
- Your plan could include provisions to avoid probate and minimize or eliminate taxes and fees.
Is estate planning only for the wealthy?
No – estate planning is not just for wealthy folks. Sure, goals such as minimizing taxes and fees or protecting assets from creditors might be more important to wealthy individuals.
But remember – there are several important goals in most estate plans that have nothing to do with wealth such as making decisions and providing instructions for the care of minor children, disposition of assets (no matter the value), and planning for you and your family’s care in the event of incapacity.
How much does an estate plan cost?
Each client’s estate plan is designed for their specific needs so it is not possible to answer this question definitively. However, a basic estate plan for an individual usually does not cost more than a few hundred dollars. In almost all but the most complex estates, I provide estate planning services on a fixed fee basis. You will receive a quote for the cost of an estate plan specific to your individual needs after a consultation and meeting.