We offer a full complement of estate planning and estate administration services. A brief description of some of these services is provided below.
Our number one priority is you, so if there is something you need that is not listed below, give us a call. If we can't help you, we will help you find someone who can.
WILLS & TRUSTS
We work with you to establish and safeguard your vision for the future of your family, your pets, and your business. We help you plan for your life and secure your loved ones' futures.
No two families are alike.
No two individuals have the exact same concerns.
Even with a married couple, a wife may have different goals than her husband.
This is why we do not do "cookie-cutter" plans. We are not interested in being a "Will Mill" and churning out bland, non-descript, impersonal documents. In the very first meeting with the lawyer, you will be asked to identify your goals, fears, and concerns - in other words, the things that keep you up at night when you think about what will happen to your family if something happened to you. Then, it is our job to design a plan that covers it all.
We also are not interested in "up-selling" our clients. Let us let you in on a little secret - not everyone needs a trust.
Are trusts vital in estate planning? Yes. Absolutely. They are one of an estate planning attorney's most powerful tools. But, they are not for everyone or for every situation.
Estate planning attorneys often say that everyone has an estate plan, whether they know it or not. It just depends on whether the estate plan is one YOU designed or one the State designed for you. Whatever your estate planning needs, we can help!
POWERS OF ATTORNEY & LIVING WILLS
People are living longer than ever before but not necessarily better. With increased longevity comes a greater risk of mental or physical incapacitation. A comprehensive estate plan is one that plans for incapacity, not just the loss of life.
Forming a business is another part of the estate planning process for some clients. Using a business entity to hold assets can be a great way to protect and facilitate the transfer of wealth to the next generation.
Also, if you have a business, you need to plan for the day that you are no longer capable of running the show. A succession plan is a must!
Most small business owners lack an exit strategy. If you are the face of your business, what happens when you are no longer around to run it? What if your children have no interest in carrying on the family trade?
With business succession planning, we work with you to help your business thrive even after you are gone.
We also work with clients who benefit from using a business entity for credit protection or to manage assets in a tax-advantaged way. For example, someone who owns a beach house or a cabin in the mountains that is rented out to the public may want the liability protection that a business entity can offer. Perhaps a Family Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Company would present a way to more efficiently and effectively transfer assets to the next generation of the family.
Your business may be the most important asset you have. Be sure your estate plan is designed to protect it!
Have you ever heard of an attorney who turns down business and tells a prospective client "You don't need me"?
Well, we do.
If you already have documents in place but question whether they really do what you think they do, let us look them over for you. We will give you an honest assessment of whether any updates are needed.
Circumstances change and relationships evolve.
The person you named as the guardian of your kids has died.
You are in the midst of a divorce and you named your spouse as your Executor.
The multi-tiered trust strategy your previous attorney used is outdated.
Congress passes new legislation.
As life evolves, so should your estate plan, which is why we recommend you meet with an estate planning attorney every three-to-five years to look over your documents.
Estate planning is not something you do once and then forget about it for the next 20 years. If there's dust gathering on your documents, that's a sign you need to have them reviewed!
The peace of mind that comes with knowing your estate plan is current is priceless. Don't gamble away your loved ones' futures!
A Durable Power of Attorney (often referred to as a Financial Power of Attorney) allows you to name a trusted individual to step into your shoes and make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. For most people, this document is not "live"until some triggering event happens. If there is a need, however, for the Durable Power of Attorney to be immediately effective, that can be arranged.
A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to name a trusted individual to step into your shoes and make medical and health care-related decisions on your behalf.
A Living Will (or Advanced Directive for a Natural Death) is a document used to express clear instructions on the level of life-prolonging measures you want medical providers to employ on your behalf in case you become incapacitated and can no longer advocate for yourself.
If your estate plan does not include all three of these, then you are unnecessarily exposed! Let us help you get the coverage you need.
Serving as one's Personal Representative or Executor can be a heavy load. We are here to help shoulder the burden and assist you with your fiduciary responsibilities.
Our estate administration service is designed to help the Personal Representative navigate the complicated (some might say "tortuous") process known as Probate.
Perhaps the Personal Representative lives in a different state.
Maybe he or she has other responsibilities that demand all of his or her time.
Suppose the Personal Representative is just too grief-stricken to handle the responsibility alone.
Regardless of the reason, we are here to walk along side you, to advise you every step of the way, and to help bear the load.
Serving as Trustee is not for the faint of heart. If you are named as Trustee, you have a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries of the trust. If a Trustee fails to uphold his or her fiduciary duties, then the Trustee can be held personal liable. The stakes are high, but we are here to help make sure your actions are beyond reproach.
Most people name a trusted family member or friend as their Trustee. Many times the Trustee has no financial, investment, asset-management, or legal background.
Yet, taking on the Trustee role is a big responsibility. Because the Trustee is responsible to the beneficiaries, the Trustee can be sued for mismanaging trust assets, failing to invest assets prudently, not acting with reasonable skill, care, and caution, not properly communicating with beneficiaries, not following the terms of the trust instrument, not preparing proper accountings, and more.
These risks are why it is advisable to have an attorney as a "back-stop." Whether you are looking only for advice or wanting a more involved partner, we are here to serve.
The services highlighted only represent a sampling of the work we do. If we listed every way we work with our clients, this webpage would be unending. But, here are few more:
Funding of Trusts
Revocation of Powers of Attorney
Gift and Estate Tax Returns
Review of Prenuptial and other Marital Agreements
Audit Review of Beneficiary Designation Forms
Client Care Program for on-going maintenance of your plans and to build a lasting relationship between the client and the attorney
Team meetings involving the client, CPA, and financial advisor
Weekend and After-hours appointments
Concierge Service (we come to you!)
We want to be a trusted resource for you and your family. If you have a need, let us know. We have an extensive referral network, so if we cannot help you, we will do our best to find someone who can!