Estate Planning

We guide you through the estate planning process and prepare the necessary documents to ensure that your wishes are followed.  After carefully listening to your goals, we explain all your options to you and suggest which planning would best suit your needs.  By implementing the correct planning techniques, your assets will be transferred as you wanted, in a tax-efficient manner, and will remain protected after you are gone.

Incapacity Planning

We also enable other individuals to manage your affairs on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated.  This is done by executing a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Authorization Form.  These documents are included as a standard part of each of our estate planning packages.  You may also wish to implement a Revocable Trust to ensure a swift transition of the management of your trust assets.

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the process of handling a decedent's estate with the oversight of the Probate Court.  The Executor is charged with the task of probating the estate.  Probate administration typically involves probating the Will, marshalling assets, filing accountings, filing notices to creditors, paying creditors, and distributing the remaining probate assets to the beneficiaries.  The Executor should also determine if any postmortem planning should be considered.

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

Estate planning is not just for senior citizens who have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth.  Estate planning is needed at every stage of life.  If you are a parent of a minor child, have you thought about who would serve as guardian in the event that you are not around to raise your child until he reaches the age of majority?  Would you like your children to receive their inheritance outright at age 21? Age 35?  Who will serve as your fiduciaries?  What will happen to your pets?  Who would you want to receive your tangible personal property?  These are important (non-tax) questions that we can help you with.

How We are Different

Many estate planning attorneys prepare your documents but stop short in making sure that your assets are properly titled or managed.   Some assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, will be distributed according to its beneficiary designation or by operation of law, totally regardless of the terms of your Will or Revocable Trust.  This may come as a surprise to many people.  Assets could be distributed to unintentional beneficiaries (even ex-spouses).  We work with you and your financial advisors to update the designated beneficiaries of these accounts and policies to ensure that those assets coordinate with the rest of your estate planning and are distributed how you want them to be.  We illustrate how each asset will be transferred in a detailed, easy-to-understand diagram.

Laura Rivers Law

Next Steps...

Congratulations!  You have taken the first step in estate planning and that is realizing the continuing need to plan for your affairs.  The next step is to call or email our office to request a client questionnaire where you will share important confidential information with us so that we may better formulate a plan for you.  We will also schedule an appointment to sit down to get to know each other.  I will provide suggestions as to what you will need to do to achieve your estate planning goals.  The initial client conference will take about one hour and is completely free of charge.  If you are not satisfied that we are the right fit for you, there is no obligation to engage our firm for any further assistance.