ESTATE PLANNING: PREPARING FOR THE UNKNOWN
Planning for the unknown can be an overwhelming experience. When you spend time thinking about the countless things that can go wrong, such as accidents, diseases, or incapacitation, it can become a frightening and stressful experience. That is why so many of us avoid the experience at all costs. This can place loved ones in a difficult situation, when they are left behind, forcing them to make complicated decisions without your input. It also means your loved ones could end up in court, fighting for the assets you wanted them to have immediate access to. If this sounds like something you have done, now is the time to stop procrastinating and do something about it. When you meet with Charles V. Hardenbergh’s estate planning team, you can be sure we will ask the right questions and account for every possibility. Protecting your loved ones and your assets is our mission.
Perhaps you already have a plan in place. Now the question becomes, how long has it been since you reviewed it? Estate Plans are often made when a couple gets married, or at the birth of their first child. But then life gets busy, and the plan is not looked at again. Now is the time to revise your Estate Plan, so that it accounts for major life changes such as divorce, adult children, or a special-needs dependent.
WE MAKE IT EASY TO GET STARTED
At the law offices of Charles V. Hardenbergh, a process has been developed that makes estate planning almost painless. Clients are asked to complete a Family Planning Intake Form. This will help you get a clear picture of what you own, and what you need to think about in the process of planning. It is this planning process that will ensure the well-being and care of your loved ones, along with what happens to the belongings you loved, during your lifetime. Next, we will conduct a Planning Session. During the session we will discuss your intake form and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. If you decide the current state of your affairs is unacceptable, and if we both decide that we can work together, then we will design an estate plan that will best suit the needs of your family.
WHY SHOULD YOU WORK WITH US?
You may have seen inexpensive estate plan packages from lawyers, or maybe you have even been tempted by free online resources for preparing your own will. It is important for you to know that often, this type of plan does not work. The reason these plans do not work is because a word processing formula is passed off as estate planning. You answer a few questions and the drafter decides which “plan” is right for you. Your information is entered into a template, and you become another number. This is not estate planning! It is little more than a “search and replace” of your family’s name. The “print” button is hit, and your documents are spit out.
At the Law Offices of Charles Hardenbergh, we will not only educate you, but take time to actively listen. We will get to know you, your family, your concerns, your goals, and your issues. We will also patiently answer all your questions. Our goal is to produce an estate plan that is exactly right for you. Every family is unique, and we will work happily with you, to meet all your needs.
A WILL MAY NOT BE ENOUGH
A will, especially one downloaded from the internet, will most likely provide little more protection for your loved ones, than if you did not have a will to begin with. When you work with us, the foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust. This means you transfer your property into this trust, for your benefit, during your life. You then name the beneficiaries of the trust. An important benefit of a revocable living trust is that when done correctly, and maintained over time, your estate plan should help your family avoid the cost and delay of probate, along with minimizing or even eliminating estate taxes.
If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children are always taken care of, regardless of what the future holds. At the law offices of Charles V. Hardenbergh, one of our greatest areas of expertise is protecting minor children. Did you know that 69 percent of parents have not yet named guardians for their kids? Without proper planning, a judge, who does not know you or your family, will decide who will raise your kids. It does not matter if this is the last person you would ever want. Also, whether your children are ready for it or not, when your kids turn 18, they could get a check for whatever assets are left. By working with us now, you can be assured that your kids are taken care of, and that your money is taken care of for your kids. It will also ensure that your wishes are met, and not the wishes of a stranger.
FIND OUT IF WE ARE RIGHT FOR YOU
Call us today at 804-419-7297 and schedule a strategic family planning session. There is no commitment and you will take away important information for protecting your family and their future.