Planning Your Estate

Some call it estate planning. We call it planning for life and beyond!

Many people go to great lengths to accumulate wealth. Regardless of age, individuals that work to be self-sufficient are to be admired. Unfortunately, many people work hard and pay large fees and commissions, yet their plans are incomplete. Sadly, they are typically unaware of a gaping hole in their plan. If a catastrophe occurs the individual or their family may discover the omission. 

We believe no financial plan is complete without an estate plan. For example, a young couple may have worked tirelessly to accumulate wealth. If they are suddenly taken in a car accident, what will happen?  If they don't have a will, the decisions about guardianship of their children and control of their wealth will be left up to the state.  If a retired person has accumulated a lifetime of wealth but dies without an estate plan, their wealth may be diminished by taxes and fees or squandered by beneficiaries that will waste a lifetime of wealth in a year or two. Could be worse?  If an individual becomes incompetent without the proper powers of attorney, it might!  In our state, a competence hearing could be scheduled. If the court agrees that the person is incompetent, the next of kin would usually be appointed as guardian. However, as a guardian, the individual would be required to petition the court before making changes for their incompetent loved one. The guardian is also required to file an annual report to the court detailing the money they spent on their incompetent loved one. Guardianship can be costly and time-consuming. More importantly, it can be humiliating. Imagine being married to a person for over 50 years and having to petition the court before you can spend your own money on them. In the majority of cases, proper estate documents will eliminate this problem.

But estate documents aren't all it takes to make a great estate plan.

Many people don't understand the importance of what I call non-legal estate planning. Without proper beneficiary designations on life Insurance, annuities, and Retirement Plans the financial consequences can be devastating.  What seemed to be a minor era can become a costly mistake. Another key area is planning your legacy. What life lessons and memories will you leave behind? We believe your life lessons and memories are worth more than money! 

In 2017 Legal Zoom reported that 55% of Americans don't have a will. A much higher percentage don't have proper Powers of Attorney. Not having an estate plan is risky. We're committed to making sure our clients aren't vulnerable to the risk associated with insufficient planning.