Estate planning is a crucial part of a family’s financial planning process. In fact, everyone 18 years and older should have some level of estate planning regardless of wealth. The estate planning process covers a variety of legal issues surrounding incapacity and death, and due to the complicated nature of it, it’s important to consult an estate planning attorney. While it is not a favorite topic to discuss, those who fail to plan can actually leave a painful and lengthy legal process for their family to address during an already emotional time.
What Does an Estate Plan Include?
An estate plan typically includes some combination of the following: a Trust, a Will, a Power of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive, a Release of Protected Health Information, a General Assignment, and may include additional advanced planning tools depending on net worth. If you have children, estate planning will also include nominating a guardian and even passing on your family values.
What your personal estate plan will look like depends on your assets, family members, and family dynamics. While there are firms out there that use templates and simply plug in new names and dispositive provisions, a good estate plan must be customized to meet your needs. This means that a personalized estate plan can provide protection for your unique family members, whether it is protecting their inheritance from divorce, remarriage, and credit problems, protecting children from their own youth and inexperience, or protecting family members from losing valuable public benefits such as SSI and Medi-Cal. If you have an estate planning attorney that takes the time to learn about your values and concerns, those will also be included in your estate plan.
Why is an Estate Plan Important?
Having a good estate plan in place is imperative. It avoids the lengthy and costly probate process and can reduce tax liabilities. It can also protect you in the event of incapacity (due to accident or illness such as dementia) and make helping you during the incapacity process easier on your children.
Most parents worry about protecting their children by providing for them on their death but oftentimes they don’t consider the challenges an adult child caring for their incapacitated parent faces. Clients caring for incapacitated parents struggle with the legal and practical challenges of managing the healthcare and finances, as well as the emotional heartache of watching a parents capacity decline. An estate planning attorney has the ability to make a challenging time easier, especially when the estate plan is done right the first time.
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
Simply put, an estate planning attorney will put your wishes for incapacity and death in writing. You may have a general idea about what you want but there are a lot of things you probably have not considered that will come up during a meeting. The estate planning attorney’s job is to know what documents the client needs and then present options to carry out their goals.
Kam Law Firm provides a simple 2-step process, which includes a thirty-minute complimentary consultation. A complete estate plan is typically turned around in three weeks and can be completed more quickly in urgent circumstances.
Complimentary Initial Consultation: The consultation provides an opportunity for you and the attorney to get to know one another and make sure it is a good fit. It is important to connect with your estate planning attorney as you will need to feel comfortable disclosing significant personal and financial information. You also should feel confident your attorney is well versed in the area of law.
This step also provides the opportunity for the attorney to learn more about your assets and family so they can recommend exactly what you need. At that time, they will be able to quote a price and if you are ready, you can proceed with designing your estate plan.
Signing Meeting: You will be provided an electronic draft of your estate plan within 1-2 weeks of the initial consultation and you will have the opportunity to speak with an attorney to review any questions or changes you want to be made. Once you have approved the final version, you can come to our office to sign and go over any final questions you may have.
Why Choose Kam Law Firm?
Many estate planning attorneys have never seen a courtroom. Kam Law Firm litigates will and trust disputes, providing a perspective an attorney cannot obtain from drafting experience alone. Once you’ve seen the issues that arise from a poorly drafted estate plan, you are better skilled to foresee potential litigation and draft language to reduce the risk.
Kam Law Firm also provides complimentary estate plan reviews to existing clients if we have drafted your estate plan. Most firms will bill hourly or will charge a recurring annual fee for this service. This provides you the comfort of calling or coming in to ask questions when life happens, without being charged. If changes need to be made, they will be billed hourly.
Finally, Kam Law Firm is experienced in drafting first and third special needs trusts, as well as representing clients in joining pooled special needs trusts, an area many estate planning attorneys are unfamiliar with.
It is important to plan ahead to protect yourself, your family, and your legacy. Your estate plan can always be updated and modified as your family and needs change. If you have questions regarding estate planning, probate attorneys or any other related area, please call us today for a free consultation at (619) 535-1405.