The purpose of estate planning is to make things as easy as possible for your family in the event you become incapacitated or if you were to pass away. Our office offers several comprehensive plans to fit your goals and your budget. We can help you to put a plan in place so that your family would know exactly what to do if something were to happen to you. Click the links below to find out more.
The first meeting in our office is intended to be purely informational and to provide you with your estate planning options. Our office utilizes a worksheet that we send to all potential clients to complete prior to our initial meeting. Each client is different and has their own set of factors that influence what they want in their estate plan. The worksheet provides us with all of the information that we need to get a better understanding of your unique estate planning goals and wishes. This allows us to provide you with the best options for a custom estate plan tailored for your specific situation.
One of the most important questions to ask is what is the attorney’s level of experience when it comes to preparing wills and trusts? If the attorney is a general practitioner that merely dabbles in estate planning, then they may not know how to properly address your unique situation. You may end up with a “one size fits all plan” that may not be appropriate for your planning needs. It is best to plan with an attorney that regularly practices in this area of law.
Another important question is to ask the practitioner is whether a will-based plan or a trust-based plan is more appropriate. This is an especially important decision. This is because selecting the wrong option for your particular situation could result in your family having to go through the expensive, time-consuming, and very public process of probate while grieving their loss of you.
The best estate plan is a comprehensive estate plan. An estate plan should include all necessary documents to address incapacity and death. Regarding incapacity, you need to include documents that address your wishes with regard to your healthcare in the event that you are unable to communicate with your healthcare provider. You also need to implement documents to allow someone to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so yourself due to incapacity.
At death, you want to make sure that you have all the necessary documents to address your wishes as to how you would want your estate to be handled. You would also select the person or persons that you would want to manage your estate. The type of documents selected for this purpose would depend on the type of assets that you own and whether you wanted your estate to avoid probate.
If you have children, you want to make sure that you have appropriate documents in place to identify who you would want (or do not want in some cases) to raise your children if you were unable to do so. If you do not have these types of documents in place, then the court will make this determination for you and the court may select someone that you would not have chosen to raise your children.
A comprehensive estate plan should include documents that plan for incapacity and death. With regard to incapacity, the plan should include at a minimum both a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney. The estate plan should include a will or trust (or both) to address how your assets should be distributed upon your death. You should discuss which option would be the best for your situation with your estate planning attorney.
Note: The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice nor is it intended to form an attorney client relationship. An attorney client relationship is formed only when an engagement agreement has been signed by both attorney and prospective client and fees for services have been paid.
"Colleen is truly an asset to her law firm as she is extremely knowledgeable in her field of estate planning. She is patient and understanding and presents all of the legal ‘info’ in terms that are easily understandable. We liked that you made us feel comfortable and at ease and that we designed a perfect estate plan for us and our family."
"Colleen makes the will developing experience easy. These conversations aren’t always easy and she explains everything very clearly and respectfully. Her services are beneficial for married folks with children. Colleen is the absolute best!"