Estate Planning

WILLS TRUSTS ESTATES

Protect your family. Design your legacy.

Welcome! I want to congratulate you for making it here and taking the first step toward planning for everyone and everything you love. I cherish the opportunity to help secure what you love. I look forward to learning your story, hearing what matters to you, and helping you to discover what's actually needed to keep your loved one's out of court and out of conflict when something happens to you (or them). We specialize in creating wills and trusts to achieve your goals.

If you're ready to jump right in, please schedule a Family Legacy Private Seminar.

Undecided? That's fine, it's normal to be a little uneasy about estate planning. Many of our happiest clients started just where you are right now. But, when they read our report on estate planning for families, they felt more at ease, educated and informed. I would love to send you a copy of this report for free, as my gift to you for considering working with us. Simply click here and enter your name and email address and I'll email it to you right away.

If the worst case scenario happens you want to make sure that your family stays out of court, that your assets go to your intended heirs smoothly in a manner that is best suited to them, and you don't want the process to add to the stress of an already difficult time.

If you become incapacitated you want the right person have the right access to use your assets for your benefit and to make the health care decisions that you would make if you could.

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?

Read on to learn about our unique process and the special concerns your family may have or use these links to skip to information pertinent to you.

We do it differently.

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.

____

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 only charge flat fees so you always know what you are paying in advance.
  • Second, before we even begin to talk about what you might need in your estate planning we do a comprehensive Family Legacy Private Seminar where we help you get more organized than you have ever been before and we educate you on the law and how it applies to your current situation. If you don't need further services from us, we will tell you.
  • If, after we helped you get educated and organized, you decide that you want to create an estate plan with us we will design a personalized plan that works for your unique family for a flat fee that you help choose. We always have different options for fee ranges and we never surprise you with billing.
  • Finally, we aren't a one-and-done type of firm. We know that for estate plans to work they have to be living documents subject to small updates and changes over the years. We want to create a life time relationship with you and your family so you know that if the worst happens, you or your children have someone to call that knows you. That's why everyone who completes their estate planning with us has the option to enroll in our Personal Estate Counsel Membership Plan.

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.

We fill the gaps that traditional estate planning leaves. Traditional estate planning doesn't take the fact that in these modern times families are often spread far and wide. That's why we created the Inner Circle Program - a way to connect the important people who live near you with your relatives so, in the event of a crisis, people aren't wasting time and energy.

For families with young children.

Our founding attorney, Roxanne, is not only an estate-planning attorney, she is first and foremost a mother who understands the importance of protecting and caring for your 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 them in the event something happens to you and your spouse? Scary but true! The court, without any personal knowledge about you 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 comprehensive planning today. Ask about our proprietary Child Safety Net System.

If the most precious assets in your estate are your children, this should be incentive enough to make sure your desired "back-up parents" are appropriately nominated, and provided for, in an estate plan.

Life is unpredictable. Rest easy knowing that you've protected your children. Contact us and find out how.

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 a specialized package called The Fledgling Plan 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 we 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.

Planning with us always includes our proprietary Child Safety Net System so you can be assured that your children will be cared for no matter what.

Couples or Individuals with No Children

Setting up your estate plan to be assured that your assets will be used for your benefit if you are incapacitated and go to the individuals or charities you want if you die is critically important. Many times the default provisions in the law are not at all what you want.

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.

We fill the gaps that traditional estate planning leaves. Traditional estate planning doesn't take the fact that in these modern times families are often spread far and wide. That's why we created the Inner Circle Program - a way to connect the important people who live near you with your relatives so, in the event of a crisis, people aren't wasting time and energy.

Unmarried couples, including unmarried LGBT+

In the 2105 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the US Supreme Court upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states, bringing marriage equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples no matter where they live. Since then, same-sex married couples have had access to all the estate planning tools that heterosexual couples have been taking advantage of for years. Same-sex couples no longer have to go to creative lengths—and pay estate planning experts well versed in work-around strategies—to achieve similar results that heterosexual couples enjoy.

However, many of our clients, both LGBT+ and straight, choose to stay unmarried for their own reasons. In this case, it is imperative that everyone involved be aware of what the plan is if one party is incapacitatd or dies and that there are documents uphold the plan. As we say in the office, any promise to a lover that isn't in writing is just pillow talk.

If you are in a committed relationship we can help you determine whether or not getting legally married would be beneficial to you.

You'll also want to learn more about our priopriatary Inner Circle Program to keep the people closest to your heart connected and aware of each other.

Mixed Nationality Couples

The IRS allows an unlimited marital deduction for both estate and gift taxes between spouses. It is a tax-free transfer of money. The marital deduction does not apply, however, if the surviving spouse is not a citizen. A noncitizen survivor must pay estate tax just like anyone else who inherits. If the taxable estate is very large—more than $11.4 million, for deaths in 2019—then federal estate tax may be due. To avoid paying estate tax at the death of the first spouse, couples have two main options: get U.S. citizenship for the noncitizen spouse or create a QDOT trust. With proper planning you can also reduce taxes by making lifetime gifts under the annual exclusion (there are specific provisions for non-US citizen spouses.

If you are a mixed-nationality couple we can help you devise the best strategy to reduce estate taxes.