At Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer, P.A., our attorneys understand that many people put off planning their estates because they have misconceptions about the estate planning process. Although the estate planning process does involve important decisions that are sometimes difficult, the process itself can be rewarding if handled appropriately.
A Full-Service Estate Planning Law Firm
Our estate planning lawyers offer a full range of estate planning, probate and elder law services to clients and can assist with the following: wills, trusts, probate administration, guardianships, conservatorships and elder law.
Our estate planning attorneys are committed to providing guidance and advice to clients during every step of the estate planning process. Through the years, our attorneys have developed a number of methods and tools to simplify the estate planning process for clients. From the initial client meeting, our estate planning attorneys understand that one of their most important roles is to collect information through careful listening and thorough document examination. As such, our representation normally begins with an initial client meeting and a client questionnaire, which we have revised based on our interaction with thousands of past estate planning clients.
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When the information-gathering process is complete, our estate planning attorneys provide clients with a framework of options. These options might include restructuring asset holdings or creating trusts. However, whether we are drafting a simple will or restructuring a complex estate plan, our attorneys understand that end-of-life decisions, which often affect a large group of family members, must be treated with patience and sensitivity.
Taking the First Step
Initiating the estate planning process is relatively simple and requires only a phone call to our office to schedule an appointment. There is no preparation necessary prior to calling our office or scheduling the first meeting. We can be reached at 952-432-3136.
The first visit includes a discussion of the client’s goals, a review of their assets, and a description of the various wills or trusts appropriate for their use. Following the first appointment, we will 1) prepare the appropriate documents, 2) send them to you for your review, and 3) schedule an appointment for the explanation, review, and execution of the documents. Our clients are billed for services following completion of the process.
Why an Estate Plan?
With an Estate Plan
- You decide who receives a share of your assets.
- You decide how and when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.
- You decide who will manage your estate (personal representative, trustee, etc.).
- You select a guardian for any children.
- You provide for an orderly continuance or sale for a family business.
- You show your family that you cared enough to plan.
Without an Estate Plan
- State laws determine who inherits your assets.
- The terms and timing are set by law. Your children could be left with total and immediate control of a sizeable estate.
- The court appoints administrators who may not share your views on anything.
- Costs are usually greater, due to taxes and administrative expenses.
- Financial loss and hardship may result from an untimely sale.
- Your family is left to guess and argue about what your wishes may have been.
Only responsible planning and the appropriate legal documentation can ensure that specific goals will be accomplished. Through the use of a will or trust, clients may determine who receives their assets, who is in charge of distributing those assets upon death, who will serve as guardian for any minor children, and whether estate taxes can be avoided or minimized.
For more information about getting started with your estate plan or to learn more about our probate services, please feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail.