Estate planning is often summarized by the questions “Who gets my assets after I die?” and “How do I avoid the costs of probate?” Estate planning, though, is really much more than that, and the primary reason for the rapid growth in probate litigation is that planning documents are not valid or are not clear . . . and then costly litigation follows.
An experienced estate planner will take you through a series of questions regarding your own life and what you want for your children, grandchildren, and maybe even charities. There are numerous considerations and a variety of unknowns.
- Do you have children who are minors?
- Is a spouse or heir disabled?
- Is there any drug or alcohol addiction that needs to be considered?
- Is there a desire to encourage or pay for college education?
- What about a history of dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Protect Your Loved Ones, Develop a Plan
Often through multi-generational meetings, Mr. Ward counsels clients and their families on decisions necessary to properly protect themselves and their assets. Mr. Ward uses estate planning techniques designed to protect clients and their loved ones and properly transfer what oftentimes took a lifetime to build. Proper planning of the transfer of assets entails considerable discussion and review of the options and alternatives that are available to achieve the client’s wishes. For many clients, a degree of flexibility in the planning best suits their needs. While we may assume some things based upon statistical averages, there are always the cases that don’t follow the standard statistical pattern. Proper estate planning needs to take this into account.
We Respect the Needs of Our Clients
Questions that are easily answered by one couple may present such a huge obstacle to another couple that they cannot move forward until they’ve had a few days to think about it. There are cases where the client wants to consult with an adult child, and there are cases in which the parent does not want the adult child to know anything about their situation. There are also those cases where the parents have substantial wealth that they have accumulated, and they do not want their children to be aware of the extent of that wealth until after both parents pass. Every case is different.
This is an extremely personal area of the law. Each person and each family has their own story, issues, values, and wishes for their family and intended beneficiaries. Planning for financial management and health care during incapacity varies from person to person. We respect that and counsel people on how we can help them achieve their goals for themselves and for their heirs in the best possible manner.
Mr. Ward takes the time to know each client personally and develop an understanding of their wishes. Our office generally will not charge for initial consultations, and we can often provide basic guidance to clients with a simple phone call. We invite you to contact us to see if there is something we can help you with.