estate planning

Protecting Your Legacy
With Estate Plans

We make it easy to think about planning for the future and protecting your legacy. 

Creating a will or trust can help you make important decisions that can protect your assets and provide for your family after you’ve passed away.


Smart people plan for the future and understand that estate planning is complex and multifaceted. Our firm takes a comprehensive approach that sets us apart from other firms! Read on to see why
we are different.

The Truth About Estate Planning

Did you know that most estate plans don’t work?

In our practice, we have reviewed literally thousands of estate plans written by other firms. When
we say they do not “work” we simply mean that they do not do what was intended. Sometimes, if
the clients are lucky, we catch these issues while they are still alive. Unfortunately, however,
most estate planning mistakes are not noticed until someone dies. This leads to costly probate
and often opens the door to creditors and “long lost” family members looking to make a quick

Think about why you do estate planning.
To avoid probate?
Make life easier for those you leave behind?
Provide instructions after you are gone?
Protect money and other assets from creditors?
Plan for not just your death but also your disability?
Strategize for estate taxes?
Pass along you wisdom with your wealth?

If your estate plan doesn’t do all these things, it may ultimately be insufficient. Other firms focus
on the tools of estate planning. They like to talk about wills, trusts, powers of attorney,
beneficiary deeds, and the like. These are all tools, not plans. We call these “magic book” firms.
They act like (they usually don’t know better) once you sign the documents and they put them in
a book, that’s all you need. This could not be further from the truth and unfortunately, these well-
meaning firms often cost their clients thousands of dollars down the road. Beware of firms that
focus on selling you documents and not a comprehensive, fully funded, and regularly updated
plan; there is no magic book and those “plans” often fail.

Estate Plans That Work

Our firm takes an entirely different approach to estate planning. From the outset, we want plans
that work as intended. This starts with a comprehensive review of all your holdings and a
detailed understanding of not only your family tree, but also family dynamics that may be at
play. Do you have an estranged child? A child that isn’t good with money? Is it a blended
family? Does everyone get along or is there any strife? How about disability planning? What
does it mean for you to be “disabled”? How should remarriage after the death of a spouse be
handled? We will ask all of these (and many more) questions in our process. We then explain all
your options and help you design a plan that works for you and your family.

Once your plan is designed, we will carefully review it with you to make sure that you know
how it works before signing. After signing, we work with you, your financial advisor, CPA, and
financial institutions to make sure that your plan is fully funded and verified. What does “fully
funded and verified” mean? There is a lot more to it than can be explained here, but all your
accounts, no matter how situated, need to be directed to flow through your estate plan, we
achieve this in a variety of ways, but the important thing is that we work with your bank or other
financial institutions to make sure that their internal institutional paperwork reflects your estate
plan; this is the “funding” portion. “Verified” means that we don’t stop this process until we
have verification from your bank or other financial institutions that the changes have in fact been
implemented. This verification can prove to be invaluable when a financial institution loses its
own internal paperwork which happens more often than you would think.

Finally, most firms treat estate planning as a onetime transaction. The problem with this
approach is that you don’t stop living once it is done. Many estate plans fail because, after they
were put in place, clients opened new bank or financial accounts, bought new houses, inherited
money, traded cars, or had some other life event like death of a spouse, divorce, remarriage, new
grandchildren, etc. Additionally, laws effecting estate planning and taxation change regularly.
Because of such changes, our experience has shown that for an estate plan to be effective, it
needs to be revisited and updated regularly. We have several different paths to accomplishing
this depending on your needs, but we meet with most clients yearly to review funding, revisit
design, and generally review the status of your plan. The bottom line is that when you die,
someone will call our office and ask what is next. We work very hard so that we can tell them,
“everything is in order.”



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