Estate Planning and Administration

Effective estate planning is an essential part of protecting and providing for our loved ones. No two families are alike. At McCarthy Law Offices, we design Estate Plans, big and small, to meet our clients’ individual needs.

Do I really need an Estate Plan?

Almost certainly, yes. Answer these questions for yourself: Do you have any minor children? Do you have property that you care about? Do you wish to have any say in your medical treatment should you become incapacitated and unable to voice your desires? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you need an Estate Plan.

What’s the difference between an Estate Plan and a Will?

An Estate Plan is the product of an interactive process between an estate planning attorney and their client. A Will is an important output of that process and will usually form part of that Estate Plan. For simple estates, a Will may be all that is needed. For more complex estates, other instruments, such as various Trust devices, Limited or General Powers of Attorney, Living Wills or Healthcare Powers of Attorney may be included as part of an Estate Plan.

When Should I Start My Estate Plan?

That one is easy: Now. Life is unpredictable and some things just shouldn’t be put off. Further, an Estate Plan is only effective if it is made while the client is of sound mind.

I want an Estate Plan. What is the Process?

Give us a call to set up a free consultation. You will meet with an attorney personally to begin the process. Generally, the process goes like this:
  1. Determine the extent of your Estate This includes real estate you own, bank accounts, stock or bond portfolios, as well as any valuable personal property.
  2. Define your Estate Planning Goals and Objectives These will guide your lawyer as he drafts your Estate Plan. Do you want to avoid Probate, decrease taxes owed, pass certain property to certain individuals, appoint guardians for minor children, etc…
  3. Design a Plan After your initial meeting, your attorney will take the information you discussed and draft an Estate Plan in accordance with your desires to meet your goals and objectives. Your attorney will provide drafts of the documents for your review once completed.
  4. Execute the Documents Once you are satisfied with the documents, you will come in to execute the documents included in your Estate Plan. There are certain legal formalities that must be observed, so we typically only execute documents in our office. In special cases involving elderly or infirmed clients, other arrangements may be available.
  5. Revisit and Revise An Estate Plan should be reviewed regularly and may need to be amended or rewritten from time to time, as the federal and state laws regarding taxes and estate planning change regularly. We recommend coming in for a “check-up” at least every five years to make sure that the documents still meet your needs, or anytime your family, your estate or your estate planning goals change.

How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost?

McCarthy Law Offices handles most estate planning work on a flat-fee basis. Should you need something out of the ordinary or above and beyond what is included in a normal estate planning package; fees will be charged at an hourly rate. At the time of your initial consultation, you and your attorney will sign a plain language agreement that will detail the scope of work and the fee arrangement. See this sample agreement.