A good estate plan reflects your life and mirrors the values you live out every day. In short, estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy, the aging, or the ill. One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones is to establish an estate plan. If you do not have a plan in place then you will find yourself at the mercy of the courts and laws already put in place. A well-designed estate plan provides for loved ones, including minor children and aging parents, avoids probate at death, reduces or eliminates estate taxes, helps ensures that people you trust care for you if you become disable, and can establish your legacy with gifts to charitable organizations.
An estate plan is often put together like a mosaic. At first glance it’s one large picture that conveys the meaning and purpose of your life. Upon closer inspection you find that this big picture is a combination of smaller elements, each individually crafted and purposefully put together to make the whole image. For an estate plan these small pieces are individual documents such as a Last Will and Testament, a Trust, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, or a Living Will. This may also include deeds on real property, beneficiary designations, or even joint ownership on a checking account.
I meet with individuals and families to review their personal and financial situation, including their needs, concerns, hopes and goals, and explain the options available to them based on their situation. We draw together all of the pieces to form a comprehensive plan that fits each client’s unique life and situation. Once their estate plan is in place, my clients enjoy peace of mind knowing they have provided for themselves and their loved ones if an unexpected crisis occurs. As goals and circumstances change, my clients are confident knowing they have a solid foundation to build on.