The transfer and protection of wealth should not be a document transaction. You need an on-going Legal Relationship.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
If you are like most people, meeting with an Estate Planning Lawyer is on your list of things to do...someday. Maybe you even promised yourself that "this will be the year" to put a legal plan in place. Maybe you made out a will when you first started your family. How long ago was that?
Whether you have put things off or just let things go, I have great news. Getting help starts with one step. If you read this and don't take that step today, you may find yourself stumbling upon this message years from now, wishing you would have planned sooner.
The first step is to set up an initial consultation. Let's sit down in the convenience of my Findlay office and just talk about your concerns. What do you want to see happen to your money, personal possessions or property when you are gone? What don't you want to see happen?
Let me take a look at any existing legal documents you have, and you can decide if these documents still reflect your wishes. Maybe your old plan was great 10 years ago, but laws change. It doesn't matter how great your estate plan was when it was created. What matters is how great your estate plan is when you pass away. For this reason, I provide yearly plan review meetings for no additional charge. Outdated estate plans can end up costing your family a lot of money.
By the end of our first meeting, I will give you my recommendations and the cost to put them into a plan. If it all makes sense, you can give me the go ahead to get the ball rolling. If you're not on board, that's okay too. No pressure. You won't hurt my feelings...promise.
My approach is a little bit different than most other Attorneys. My mission is to offer Estate Planning services in words you can understand from an Attorney you can trust. All this in a comfortable environment where your best interest is my only concern.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Aren't Estate Plans only for rich people?
A: No. This is a common misconception. After you pass away, someone is going to get whatever you own, such as real estate, bank accounts, vehicles etc. Estate Planning gives you the chance to decide who that someone will be.
Q: What is Probate?
A: Probate is the legal process for paying your debts and transferring your property (personal property and real estate) to another person after you pass away. The process is in place primarily to protect creditors. Most of my clients want to avoid going through the Probate process.
Q: Why do people want to avoid Probate?
A: There are three main reasons why people want to avoid probate.
Probate is expensive. Between legal fees, court costs and other expenses to get through this court supervised process, you can expect to pay about 5% of the value of your probated property, and (1% of the value of your property that does not go through Probate (i.e. life insurance policies).
Probate is a lengthy process. The Probate process can take 6-12 months or more to complete. This delays distributions to beneficiaries and can cause financial hardships to family businesses, including farms.
Probate is Public. Your neighbors can go down to the local county courthouse and see all the documents that are filed in the probate estate. These are all public documents. Anyone can see who you have included, as well as who you may have excluded. Most of my clients want to keep things private.
Q: Can I avoid Probate by having a Will?
A: No. Relying on a Will alone will ensure that you go through Probate, just like not having a Will. An Estate Planning Attorney can guide you through the process of avoiding Probate.