Trust and Estate Planning
Many people set out to develop an estate plan without knowing what they are trying to achieve. In our opinion, it is important to precisely define estate planning and establish goals prior to developing the plan. It seems equally important to approach this planning with the understanding that it is a process that should take into account your family, relationships, life's goals, financial situation, asset accumulation, and many other factors. Done the right way, estate planning is not death planning, but an act of love. In our experience, people who love are people who plan. People who care about themselves and others are far more likely to be proactive in creating a plan that properly identifies their wishes and goals while at the same time preserving their assets to be shared with others in a kind, thoughtful and conscientious manner.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for (a) the control and protection of your assets during any period of incapacity and (b) the transfer of your assets (to your beneficiaries) in the event of your death. Estate planning typically attempts to avoid probate, maximize the value of the estate, and reduce taxes and other expenses.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
If you pass away without an estate plan in place, Oregon law will dictate how your property is distributed. You will have given up your right to determine how you want your assets are divided, who you want to inherit them, when you want children to have control of their inheritance, and even who will receive custody of minor children. Your loved ones will have to go through this very public, very long, very expensive process called Probate at the same time they are grieving your death.
If you want your family to know your love, get your estate planning handled so they don't have to deal with a mess.
If I become disabled, who deals with my finances?
If you become mentally or physically unable to deal with your finances yourself, someone will have to establish a conservatorship over your finances. Doing so is expensive. If you have prepared a living trust or a financial power of attorney, a conservatorship is not needed and the person you have designated will handle your finances.
Do I need to work with an attorney on my estate plan?
Depending on the type of estate plan documents you draft, you may not have to work directly with an attorney. That said, it is highly recommended that you do so to avoid the common mistakes, pitfalls, and omissions non-attorney drafted estate plans often contain. A personal relationship with your estate attorney gives you peace of mind knowing your legal documents will work exactly as you want them to after your pass and that your attorney will be there for your family in their time of need.
How do I appoint a guardian for my children?
All minor children should have long-term guardians appointed in a will. But there is much more that needs to be done to fully protect your kids. Our Child Protection Plan™ gives you the peace of mind knowing that not only are long-term guardians appointed, but also short-term guardians (so your children will never be in the arms of strangers, even for a moment), children’s powers of attorney are designed, and guardian are provided with instructions.