An estate plan is a blueprint you create to control how your assets should be managed, used and passed on in the event of your incapacity or death, and how decisions should be made about your care and treatment if you become incapacitated.
While this is accomplished through a set of documents, it is crucial to keep in mind that estate planning is not about the documents themselves. It is about making a series of informed decisions and taking a series of thoughtful actions, all of which are designed to ensure that in the event of your death or disability, things will transition in the way you would have hoped, with the least disruption possible and with minimal or no intrusion by the court.
What Should Every Estate Plan Include?
- A way to manage your assets in the event that you become incapacitated
- A way to pass your assets on to your loved ones after you die
- A way to ensure that healthcare decisions will be made by the people you trust most if you are not able to communicate with your doctor
- A way to clearly express your end-of-life care preferences
- A Parent Contingency Plan for those with minor children naming both short- and long-term guardians, as well as a “financial parent” who can oversee the management of any assets left behind until the children are mature enough to take over this important role
- Special Needs planning for families with dependents who are or may someday be eligible for government assistance to ensure they are getting their needs met while also maximizing their ability to qualify for aid
- A way to pass on your most precious assets: your stories, insights, values and experiences
- A way for people to access the relevant documents when needed, taking advantage of the latest technology
- A clearly defined flat-fee structure so you won’t be subjected to surprise billings
Your comprehensive estate plan may include
the following legal instruments:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Healthcare Powers of Attorney
- Advance Healthcare Directives (“Living Wills”)
- HIPAA Releases
- Parent Contingency Plan naming both short- and long-term guardians
What Does it Cost to Create a Foundational Estate Plan?
- Make sure that if you are taking action to plan for your family’s future well-being, you are doing it in a thoughtful and effective way. DIY forms will not come with legal advice or guidance, nor will they come with any follow-up. Although it might cost a little more up front to hire a competent attorney to create your foundational estate plan, think about the thousands of dollars you and your family will save when the time comes by avoiding unnecessary probate costs, minimizing your estate taxes, and safeguarding your assets from your loved ones’ financial immaturity, their creditors and judgment debtors, and even their potential future divorces.
- Depending upon your marital status and the complexity of your needs, you should expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,500 to create a foundational estate plan. This should include not only your revocable living trust and/or your will, but the other key aspects of a comprehensive estate plan as well, such as financial powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and living wills. For families with minor children or special needs family members, a foundational plan should also include a Parent Contingency Plan to address guardian issues for both the short- and long-term. Your fee should also include future follow-up.
By hiring a competent lawyer, you and your family can minimize the cost and stress involved in taking care of things in the event of your incapacity or death.
How We are Different
At Watershed Estate Planning, we are proud to offer a different breed of estate planning services to our clients. Unlike most estate planning firms in town, we do not see the production of a set of documents as our goal. Rather, we see ourselves as your long-term trusted advisor, making sure you always have a plan in place that reflects your needs, health, goals, and values, and one that will actually work when the time comes. All of our work is done on a flat-fee basis agreed to up front, so there are never any surprise billings. We incorporate the latest technology into all of our planning so your documents will not be stashed away in an inaccessible place when needed, but rather can be available instantly to emergency responders and family members.
For those of you with minor children or special needs family members, we will create a special Parent Contingency Plan to make sure your children will be cared for in both the short- and long-term by the people you choose and in the manner you want, with clear guidance to all concerned.
At Watershed Estate Planning we believe estate planning is not just about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings. It’s also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: your values, insights, stories and experiences. That’s why we make it part of every client’s planning process to help you capture and pass on more than just your money. It is your intellectual, spiritual and human assets that make you who you are. These are the most precious things you can give to your loved ones.
You don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to your family’s future. In the end, estate planning is not something we do for ourselves. It is a gift we provide for those we love. Schedule a Complimentary Estate Planning Session to learn about the most appropriate type of estate plan for your needs.
Learn more about the Watershed Estate Planning Difference.
I was headed into major surgery with two little kids, a husband and a business that depended on me. I needed to know that my kids would be taken care of and that my husband wouldn’t have to be the one making all the difficult decisions when it came to a living will. Jodie worked with me and really listened to what I needed to set up to make sure my kids were taken care of in case something happened. She made the process easy and answered all my questions as we went through the process. She has given me a little peace of mind and did it with so much kindness and caring.
~ Margaret Adsit ~
Jodie Gilbert was so helpful in putting together my Special Needs Trust and Living Will. She was very patient in listening to all my questions and then very clearly explaining how to go about getting them resolved. This was all done in a very caring and timely manner. I am so thankful for all the time and expertise that she put into these legal documents. I would highly recommend Jodie for help in any legal matters.
~ Tova ~
Wendi really took the time to answer all of our questions with a mix of humor and seriousness, and diligently followed up. She is on it, and emotionally open to the emotional part of the process. Wendi makes you feel incredibly comfortable during all stages of what can seem like a daunting process. I really trust her, and feel so much more prepared for my future and my children’s futures after going through this work. She provides a great gift to her clients.
~ Mari Brown ~
We had been researching lawyers for years to do our estate plan. We feel we learned more from our first 20 minutes with Wendi than we did in an hour with any of the others. Wendi was really patient with all of our questions and explained everything so well. We have already recommended her to several of our friends.
~ David and Celine Alper ~
We loved working with Temkin Law. We not only gained a better understanding of estates and trusts, but of ourselves as well. We can rest easy knowing that our ‘stuff’ is in order for our child. Doing the Legacy Interview was absolutely priceless. We so enjoyed getting to know Wendi.
~ L.W. and J.W. ~
Wendi made a time-consuming process much easier to complete through her check-lists, templates, and clear instructions for every task. The binder she put together for us is so thorough and makes something overwhelmingly complicated possible to understand and follow. If I need to remember anything about what we did, I know it is in the binder!
~ Mary ~
This truly was the best experience with an attorney ever. Ms. Temkin shines brightly with her highly capable communication skill. She also brings a level of comfort that is authentic and unlike previous attorney contacts. Her personable communication style coupled with her strong knowledge base quickly streamlines the experience into a straight forward efficient session.
~ Judy Roberts ~
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