When you’ve worked hard to create a life, a business, and a family, you never want to think about anything changing…but the truth is, things can change in an instant, at any age.
Most people avoid estate planning because it makes you think about a lot of worst case scenarios. The truth is, the worst-case scenario is something happening to you or a family member and not having a proper plan in place.
Estate planning can be as simple as a will or as complex as succession planning for a family-run business. An effective estate plan is one that will cover your needs now and help protect your loved ones in the future. It’s the solution that eliminates as many questions, conflicts, and as much stress as is possible.
At Bains Law, Inc., we take the time to listen to your needs and create an individualized estate plan that works for you. During your free consultation, we will discuss the scope of your needs, the steps involved in the process, and the timeline to getting things squared away. In addition, we will revisit your estate plan as your needs change, tax rules change, or even periodically to ensure that we reduce the risk of litigation that an outdated estate plan can bring.
Most estate plans include:
- Revocable Trust
- Certification of Trust
- Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Directive
Advanced estate planning typically includes:
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Medi-Cal Planning
- Succession Planning
- Family Limited Partnerships
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is the process of looking at your life, your family, your business, and planning for expected and unexpected serious illness, death, or other things to make sure your wishes are carried out. In addition, a good estate plan helps streamline the process of transitioning businesses, property, care for family members, etc., in a way that minimizes stress, reduces taxes, and attempts to ensure what you have worked hard for isn’t spent on costly litigation, probate fees, etc. We also like to include discussions of medical directives, living wills, and other aspects of what might happen if, for example, you were badly injured in a car accident.
What does an estate plan not include?
A good estate plan shouldn’t be a cookie cutter template that asks you who gets what and when. Going to a law firm that has a Certified Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Specialist as its principal attorney means you get real direction, education, and support during every stage of the process.
I saw a place to get a Will for $99, what’s different about your services?
Online services often assume that you already know what makes the most sense for your family. They also don’t provide that personal touch that you or your family need to navigate such a complex process. Overlooking an option or not understanding a question can lead to a plan that just isn’t in the best interest of you or your family. Worst case scenario, that could mean expensive and stressful court battles. Our job is to make sure nothing is overlooked, to ask you the important questions. (Although we can’t guarantee perfection if given incorrect information, we will do our best to make sure we get to the bottom of your needs!) In addition, an estate planner isn’t always a lawyer, or experienced and may not be able to tell you the best legal route to take.
My loved one has passed or is incapacitated, is it too late to get help with estate planning?
Unfortunately, many of the families we work with come to us after there has been a death, major illness, or serious injury. While we love to work with people to avoid the extra stress this causes by estate planning early, we have a heart for working with people during difficult times. It is never too late to get information. And the less planning that has been done, the more important it can be to get sound legal counsel.
When should I start the estate planning process?
Sadly, it is never too early to start estate planning. We’ve worked with families who have lost loved ones at all ages due to illness, unexpected accidents, and more. Your family deserves to concentrate on grieving your loss if anything was to happen. This is a wonderful (though slightly dark) gift to give to your family members. Not having an estate plan is not uncommon, somewhere over 100 million Americans don’t have one. However, if you have ever lost a loved one who didn’t have a plan in place or had a simple will, you know the nightmare that can ensue.