Planning to Protect Your Loved Ones and Valuables
Do you know what would happen legally – to you, your loved ones, and your money – if something unexpected happened to you?
Even if you don’t have an Estate Plan, your state has a plan for you.
Do you know what the people you love would have to deal with if something unexpected happen to you? If you don’t know, then the first step is to find out exactly what would happen, legally and financially, so that you can decide if the current state of your affairs is acceptable to you.
To do this, we conduct an Estate Planning Session, where we spend time together and information will be shared. Before your Estate Planning Session, you will complete an Estate Planning Worksheet and Assessment. This will help you clarify what you own and what you have to think about when it comes to planning for the well-being and care of your loved ones and loved belongings. If you decide the current state of affairs is unacceptable, and if we both agree that it’s a fit to work together, then we will design an Estate Plan that will best suit the needs of your family.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust, where you transfer your property into this trust for your benefit during your life. One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that when done correctly and maintained over time, your Estate Plan should help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
For people with additional needs, we provide advanced estate planning services.
I will educate you, take the time to get to know you, your family, your concerns, your goals and your issues. All your questions will be gladly and patiently answered to produce an Estate Plan that is exactly right for you.
If you are a family with young children, then your Estate Plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children will always be taken care of, no matter what happens. At IMME Law, one of our areas of greatest expertise is protecting minor children.
What Would Happen to Your Kids if the Unthinkable Happened to You?
Did you know that most parents have not yet named guardians for their minor children?
Of the parents who have, many have made common mistakes when naming guardians.
Don’t let this happen to your family!
Without proper planning, here’s what could happen if the unthinkable happens to you:
- Your children could be placed into Child Protective Services even if you have a Will in place and even if you have a Trust;
- A judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who raises your kids, even if it’s the last person you would ever want;
- Approximately 5% of the total value of your assets could be lost due to probate, a court process that can tie up your assets for months or years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably;
- When your kids turn 18, they will receive a check for the remaining assets;
- There are unscrupulous people who make it their business to review public records and find out what 18 year olds are coming into money;
The vast majority of Estate Planning attorneys do not address these issues, and do not plan from a parents’ perspective.
We want to make sure these things don’t happen! That’s why we offer a Guardianship Plan with every Estate Plan we do for families with young children.
If you are a family with young children, then your Estate Plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children will always be taken care of no matter what the future holds. At IMME Law, one of our main areas of expertise is protecting minor children.
In order to ensure the safety and protection of your family, we offer a Guardianship Plan with every Estate Plan we do for families with young children. Click here to request your Guardianship Plan.
How to Get Started: Individuals and Families
Our process begins with an Estate Planning Session either by phone or video conference, at a time that is convenient for you. Evening appointments are available, if that’s easier as well. Before your Session, I will send you an Estate Planning Worksheet to complete. In my experience, this worksheet will make you feel more organized than ever.
If you have any existing Estate Planning documents, I will review those ahead of our Estate Planning Session.
During the Session, we will discuss the future of your belongings and loved ones if something were to happen to you.
We’ll then put a plan together that allows you to ensure that your family is cared for and protected.
If we decide there is more to do for your family, we’ll present you with multiple planning options so you can decide which level of service is best for you and your family.
Planning for Business Owners
No matter where you are in the life cycle of your business – whether you are in early start-up phase or beginning to wind down – there are legal structures that need to be in place to ensure your business interests are protected for yourself and for your loved ones.
It has taken guts, savvy and sheer determination, but you’ve done it: You’ve made your business a success. You’ve weathered the market swings, outshone the competition, and kept your customers more than satisfied. Your achievements have enabled you to take care of and protect your family. So what happens if you get hit by that proverbial bus?
Succession Planning for a business owner involves more than just deciding how your assets will be divided after you die. Click here to learn more about planning for business owners.
At its most basic form, a Business Succession Plan is a documented road map for partners, heirs and successors to follow in the event of your death, disability or retirement. This plan can include a program for distribution of business stock and other assets, debt retirement schedules, life insurance policies, buy-sell agreements between partners and heirs, division of responsibilities among successors, and any other elements that affect your business assets. The plan may also establish the value of your business.
So where do you start? In the Business Succession planning process, you must first clearly establish your goals and objectives, as well as your company’s current human and financial resources. How much control of the business do you want to maintain? Is there someone capable of running the business once you step down? Are there key employees who must be retained? Are there sufficient assets to pay the estate tax, equalize your estate and keep the business? How much money do you need to reach your financial goals? And don’t forget: While clarifying your goals and wishes is important, it’s not enough. You also need to communicate your vision with your family, business partners and key employees.
Trust and Estate Administration
Whether an Estate Plan has been created or not, the Estate of a deceased individual needs to be managed and closed out. This typically includes an inventory of all assets, notifying all beneficiaries and creditors, paying any debts and making distributions to beneficiaries. A court process may or may not be required, depending on the deceased’s assets and the level of Estate Planning they put in place. Regardless of whether the court is involved or not, every person in charge of administering an Estate or a Trust is legally obligated to abide by the laws of the State governing the Estate and Trust Administration and rules of conduct, known as “fiduciary duties.”
All planning services are provided on a flat fee basis. All legal fees are agreed on in advance. No surprises.
A basic, yet comprehensive, Estate Plan for an individual can cost as little as under $1,000. More extensive Estate Planning costs more and depends on your assets and your wishes. We offer 3 levels of Estate Planning. Click here to see the levels of Estate Planning.