FAQsPersonal. Professional Estate Planning in your own home or business
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Art Pauly of Pauly Law offices, Inc. can answer your questions about wills and trusts. Our firm emphasizes education of and collaboration with our clients so you can make informed, confident decisions. After reading these estate planning FAQs, we can discuss your specific circumstances and help you to successfully plan for your situation.
Who needs to do estate planning?
Everyone who owns anything should do some planning. It may be nothing more than a simple Will and Powers of Attorney all the way up to sophisticated tax, Charitable and Business planning.
Why is a Trust better than a Will?
First of all, some small estates may not need a Trust. The two major advantages of a Trust over a Will is that a Will guarantees your family will be in the Probate Court. Further, a Trust can help control your assets if you become unable to manage your affairs. A Will can’t. Avoiding the Probate Court is the main reason most people include a Living Trust in their Estate Planning.
Who long does it take?
On average about two weeks. It largely depends on how long it takes to gather asset information. The first meeting is education, answering questions and setting out a plan for what you want to do. We then create the documents and send you documents to review, correct and change. When everything is correct we have the second meeting with a notary to sign and notarize the documents. We then walk you thru the “funding” of the Estate Plan.
How long can we expect the first meeting to last?
The first meeting is the opportunity for you to learn about me and for me to learn about you and your family. Many times there are complicated family issues that have to be worked out. Strategies to help accomplish your goals. I suggest a minimum of an Hour and a Half.
What are the fees and costs?
Asking to know the fees before we review your estate is like asking “how much is a car?” It depends on the amount of the assets, complexity, and special family issues. I charge a flat fee and not by the hour. You will know exactly what the fee will be during our first meeting. The only extras would be the Notary fees and recording fees.
I've heard that Estate Planning is complicated and hard to understand. Is that true?
One of the best compliments I hear from clients, after talking with me is that they now understand why and how Estate Planning works. Sure, I can talk to you using all the lofty legal terms but that does not help you. I can create documents that would take a judge to figure out. I’ve seen that kind of planning.
The document I create are written in English. They have funny words like You and Me and My Children. I guess the current term is “user friendly”. Estate Planning is for your family not for me. Your family has to be able to understand what you wanted and what needs to be done.
Do my kids need to know what my plans are? Do they get copies?
Only if you want them to know. Many of my clients want their estate planning kept confidential while some want their families to know. Some ask for a family meeting to go over the planning. There is no legal requirement that your family knows what you have done.
Can I do my planning with documents off the internet?
I’ll answer that this way. I have had several clients come to me with documents they did online asking me to review them. I always put the documents aside and just start asking the usual questions about estate planning. Every time the client picks up the online documents and tears them up and asks me to do the documents right.
I saw an ad for a trust for $595.00. Are those any good?
I’m reminded of a sign I saw years ago in a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. It said ” Shakey’s has no problem with those who sell their pizzas for less. They know what their pizzas are worth”.
Once my planning is done, how often should if be reviewed?
I suggest looking at it if there are changes in your assets or family. If not, then no more than every five years.