Life and Legacy Planning
LIFE LEGACY PLANNING
What would happen if the unexpected occurred? Who would make decisions for you? Who would make medical decisions? Financial decisions to keep your mortgage, rent and bills paid in the event you were incapacitated and unable to do these things on your own?
If you have not been able to answer these questions or simply are not sure of how to make those decisions we can help you to determine exactly what would happen to you, your wishes and your assets in the event of incapacity or untimely death. Our Life Legacy Planning Sessions are designed to help you answer those questions based on the current state of your affairs and determine if there is a better outcome than the one presently available to you. Our sessions are designed to educate and inform you on exactly what would happen and how you could change that if you would not be satisfied with that result. We support you in making the best decisions for yourself, your loved ones and your assets.
A Revocable living trust forms the foundation of your estate plan for the benefit of your life, allowing you to eliminate or minimize estate taxes and transfer your assets privately without the time and expense of probate.
Traditionally, most estate plans fail because they are not well maintained and assets are not titled or transferred correctly. In the traditional estate planning experience, you meet with your lawyer once, receive a stack of documents you don’t understand and place them on a shelf where you will never look at them again.
We understand that that does little to serve you so we work very differently. Our plans include regular review of your estate plan because we understand that over time, your family structure may change, your goals change, your assets may change and the law chan
PLANNING FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
What would happen to your kids?
What would happen to your kids if you did not make it home? Most parents have never named a guardian for their kids. Many who have named guardians for their kids have done so improperly.
Without the proper planning, your children could be left in the care of strangers, child protective services, or simply in the hands of someone that you would not wish to care for them.
What’s more, many parent’s that opt to do estate planning on their own never consider what actually happens when you name a child as a beneficiary. Your kids are too important for you to have a plan that will fail them.
Whether you are a single parent or married with children, the reality is, a will is not enough. Traditional estate planning fails to consider these factors when planning for those raising minors. If you are caring for minors we work closely with you to ensure that we create a plan that protects your children and that they are cared for in the way that you choose and with the people that you choose to care for them.
What happens when your kids get older and their needs change? Maybe your needs changed and you are now caring for a parent or another loved one in addition to your kids? Tax laws change? Maybe you have moved or acquired additional assets? Decisions that you have made years ago for guardianship may become outdated and your estate plan no longer serves you.
Our estate plans are created with the needs of your growing family in mind. We help you plan for life! Our goal is to keep your family our of court and out of conflict. Planning with us will give you peace of mind that your loved once will be well taken care of even after you are gone.
Schedule a family Wealth planning session today to learn more about how we can help you protect your children with your estate plan!
PLANNING FOR BLENDED FAMILIES
You have taken good care of your family. When you are gone, the last thing you want is for them to fight with each other. If you or your spouse have children from a prior marriage the likelihood of family conflict is great.
How do you keep you family from fighting when you are no longer around? You plan!
We take special care when planning for blended families since our primary focus is to keep you and your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. We create custom plans for blended families to ensure that your wishes are clear and advise you on on which strategies are best for keeping the peace in your family if something were to happen to you.
More than your money.
Your assets and financial wealth are just a portion of your legacy. Few Estate Planning lawyers consider the non-tangible assets that create your legacy. What do you truly want to leave behind? What skills, beliefs, and values do you want to be remembered by? Your intellectual assets, spiritual assets and human assets are some of the most important things that your loved ones will want to remember about you when you are gone.
We help you to discover what is most important to you and capture those values, stories and experiences that allow you loved ones to truly share in your legacy.
ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING
A comprehensive estate plan serves as a method of transferring your wealth to your loved ones while asset protection takes this a step further by allowing you to protect your assets throughout your lifetime. Strategies are employed to protect your assets from potentially being lost as the result of a lawsuit. This is especially important if you own a home.
The reality is, anyone can sue you at any time, whether you are right or wrong. This is especially true if you own your own business because you need to take risks to grow. There are also risks that we take in our everyday lives that we may not even realize is putting us at risk for court and conflict.
Are you considering getting married?
Do you have children from a prior marriage and are considering remarriage?
Do you own investment properties?
Do you perform professional services?
Are you a physician or an attorney?
Do you have employees?
Are you signing loan documents or a personal guarantee?
Are you signing a lease or mortgage?
Lawsuits over divorce, creditor law suits, malpractice, employment disputes, health issues, theft, sexual harassment claims, inheritance and natural disasters are just some of the many issues that resulted in over 20 million people being sued last year alone.
That is why we support you in taking the maximum risk possible without worrying about losing it all as the result of a lawsuit. We help you plan for the life of your dreams and a legacy you can be proud of passing on by protecting your assets with strategies based on your particular circumstances. Some of those strategies may include an asset protection trust, forming a business entity, insurance, prenuptial agreement, gifting, asset segregation or some other strategy is best for you.
Getting to know you during your life changes requires us to be in communication with you. We want you to feel comfortable contacting us without worrying about receiving a bill every time we pick up the phone. That is why all are fees are charged up front, so you never have to feel uncomfortable speaking with us and never have to worry about getting any surprises.
Schedule an appointment today to see how we can help you protect your assets.
ESTATE TAX PLANNING
Let’s face it, there is nothing fun about paying taxes. Throughout your life you have paid taxes on everything we could possibly think of from property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, school taxes and more. Death is the final change the government gets to tax you. That is of course, unless you plan ahead.
An estate tax is paid on the net value of all of your assets, including life insurance owned at the time of your death. If your estate exceeds the exemption amount at the time of your death you will be required to pay the estate tax which in recent years has been as high as 55%!
You have worked hard throughout your life to ensure that your legacy is left to the ones that you love, not for Uncle Sam. We can create strategies to reduce the amount owed and advise you on the options available for your family.
The gun transfer process works a bit different from other forms of inheritance. Whether or not your loved ones will be able to inherit the firearms you leave behind will depend on several factors such as the state you live in, the persons you wish to inherit those guns as well as the the type of gun.
For instance, some firearms are subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA). These guns must be registered with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). NFA weapons that are unregistered are considered contraband and cannot be passed down to an heir, even if your wishes are clearly stated in a will. The executor of the estate discovers any NFA firearms as part of the estate, they will be required to turn them over to law enforcement as “abandoned”.
For non-NFA firearms, an heir can go to a Federal Firearm Licensing entity who will hold onto the firearms until they are able to complete a background check and an additional holding period that can be up to 2 weeks in some cases. If you are unable to pass the background check, you will not be able to inherit those firearms.
A gun trust allows you to get around this lengthy process and allows you to avoid probate while passing your firearms down generation after generation. Another benefit of this specialized trust is that more than one person can use and possess the firearms held in trust by appointing multiple trustees.
Many gun owners are also concerned about proposed gun control regulations that encourages mass confiscation through estates. Speak to us today on how you can protect your firearms.
What would happen to your pets if something were to happen to you? Regardless of whether your pet is a dog, cat, snake, rabbit, horse, bird or some other animal, pets are considered personal property in the eyes of the law, even if you consider them to be a part of the family. Therefore, pets will go through the time consuming probate process if they are not a part of your estate plan.
Each year, over 5 million pets end up in animal shelters as a result of the death of their owner. Even when pet owners do plan for their pets, many do not plan properly. We often assume that the person we are leaving our pets to will care for them and love them just as much as we do, but without the proper instructions, inheriting a pet can sometimes feel like more of a burden than a blessing to the new owner.
A pet trust ensures that your pets will be cared for by the people that you wish to care for them and can even include specific instructions on how to care for them and facilitate a smooth transition to your pet’s new home. Creating a trust that best suits your pet’s needs will take several factors into consideration including the age of your pet, insurance costs, the costs of grooming, veterinary costs and even the lifespan and lifestyle your pet currently has. Ask us how we can help you create and fund your pet trust.
Schedule your appointment today!