Many people are surprised to learn that everyone has an “estate,” not just wealthy people. Your estate is comprised of everything you own, including:
- Your property, such as your house and car
- Your assets, such as your bank, retirement and investment accounts
- Your “stuff,” such as your clothing, jewelry, furniture and household knickknacks
- Your ownership interest in your business
- Your intellectual property, such as the copyright to a work you created, a trademark in your name, or a patent registered in your name
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a collection of documents that tells everyone what you want to happen to your estate (i.e. your money and material possessions) when you die. A good estate plan also tells everyone what you want to happen if you are still alive and unable to either manage your estate or make your wishes known (for example, if you are in a coma or have dementia).
Why You May Want or Need an Estate Plan
There are many reasons why people decide to create a formal estate plan. Here are a few of the more common ones:
- They want to make sure their children are taken care of if something happens to them
- They want to avoid probate and unnecessary fees and taxes
- They want to make sure their money and possessions go where they want them to go
- They want to make things easier for heirs and loved ones
Why You May Want or Need an Estate Planning Attorney
There are many resources available for people to create their own estate plan. So why do many people still hire an attorney to create one for them? Here are a few reasons:
- Convenience: There is a lot to consider, and many decisions that need to be made. Hiring an expert makes the process much simpler; an attorney can explain what options and resources are available, guide you through the decision-making process, and take care of all the paperwork, including putting your house into the trust.
- Peace of mind: Creating your own estate plan can be a scary process – what if you missed something important that will make your plan difficult or impossible to carry out? The involvement of an attorney ensures that you will have a tailored estate plan that will carry out your wishes.
Kelley’s estate planning practice helps her clients prepare for the future with a personalized plan that meets their specific needs. She ensures that their wishes are made known, so their loved ones do not have the additional trauma of figuring out what to do with finances and personal property in the event of death or incapacity.
Kelley’s estate plan package includes creation (or updating) and execution of:
- Revocable living trust
- Financial power(s) of attorney
- Advance health care directive(s) for medical decisions
- The grant deed to place the client’s home in trust
Sometimes clients need more than the basic package. They may have health or transportation issues that make coming to the office difficult, or they may have special assets, such as income from published books, that require a greater level of planning. To better serve these clients, Kelley also provides the following services:
- Placing additional properties in trust
- Meeting the client outside of Kelley’s office
- Incorporating intellectual property (IP) assets into the estate plan, which includes
- Creating a plan for ongoing management of assets
- Getting the assets into the trust
- Notifying the Copyright Office or USPTO
- Registration of copyright(s)
- Registration of trademark(s)
- Advance health care directive and power of attorney for adult children under 25