Probate is the process of finalizing an estate plan. If you pass away with no estate plan, the court will make one for you - but this may take many months and cost your loved ones thousands of dollars or more.
If you pass away with an estate plan, then your loved ones simply have to bring it to court for approval.
Loved ones often try to skip probate, but if you have a car, house, investments, or any other assets, then probate is unavoidable.
Below, we'll explain our process, our estate plans, and our prices.
We will speak with you about your goals, then draw up an estate plan to meet your goals.
We will review your proposed estate plan with you, line by line and in plain English.
Lastly, we will deliver your estate planning documents and help you sign them.
The Four Parts of a Well-Balanced Estate Plan
An attested will tells the court what to do with your property if you pass away. By giving the probate court all of the instructions that it needs, your attested will (aka: "Last Will and Testament") should dramatically cut down on the time, expense, and stress of probate.
Your attested will can also nominate a guardian to raise your minor children, in case your death leaves them orphaned.
We use over twenty provisions for most of our clients. By leaving the court with a very thick set of instructions, our wills help ensure that the probate process goes smoothly and avoids any fights or disputes.
In addition, we have created a special Proof of Competency form for our clients, to help avoid disputes in probate court by proving that you correctly signed your will and were sane at the time of signing it.
A "living will" consists of powers of attorney, an advanced directive, and a transfer on death deed.
A power of attorney appoints someone to make decisions for you - for example, medical treatment decisions and financial decisions.
An advanced directive is your set of instructions for what to do if an end-of-life decision must be made for you. If you become permanently incapacitated (for instance, if you become brain dead after a car crash), then you can decide now whether to continue or end your life sustaining treatments.
The transfer on death deed lets you transfer your real estate to a person or persons upon your death, which will let your real estate avoid probate. This often saves tens of thousands of dollars in probate expenses.
The ethical will is the most ancient kind of will, and is mentioned many times in the Bible. This will is almost like an autobiographical letter, and it leaves behind words of life advice and guidance to specific people or to your loved ones in general.
This will is often as deeply meaningful to write as it is to receive. Its recipients will often find themselves carrying it around with them for the rest of their lives, physically and emotionally. This will is very much your last words, immortalized.
Our clients receive an "In Case of Emergency Folder," where they can store all of their estate planning documents. That way, their loved ones have easy access to all of the legal documentation that they need, in the event of death or disability.
Our ICE Folder also offers a letter to your executor that explains how to do their difficult but important job, and contains your funeral arrangement desires and a summary of your assets and liabilities, which will help your executor do their job.