How We are Different
Understanding how we are different requires a description of what the "normal" experience with an estate lawyer is like. If you have done estate planning in the past, this will sound familiar.
In the standard experience, you will go in and meet with a lawyer who will often make things seem very complicated and confusing. The lawyer seems to be smart and know what they are doing, so you nod and answer questions as if you understand everything. Because you want what's best for your family, you'll have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you'll sign the documents, feeling relieved you got THAT taken care of.
You take all your fancy estate planning documents home, stick them on a shelf or in a drawer, mark estate planning off your checklist as DONE, feel good and never think about it again.
Perhaps you remember your lawyer saying something about moving your bank accounts into the trust, but you don't remember what to do. Or, you are not sure whether the plan allows you to pass your jewelry in a specific way. So you’ll call your lawyer’s office, get voicemail, and wait for a call back (which takes several hours at least and sometimes days). Finally, you have your answer. And, you either do the work the lawyer assigned or, like many, get distracted and it doesn't get done.
Either way, a few weeks later, you get a bill in the mail for $75.00 for 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You’ll make a mental note – don’t call lawyer ever again.
As time goes on, you’ll refinance your house or sell it and buy a new one and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know or make sure your plan covers the changes. Your children will get older, making your guardianship choices outdated, but you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you’ll get a bill in the mail two weeks later.
You’ll hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure you’d surely get a letter in the mail from your lawyer if it was something that affected you, so you don’t worry about it. And, you’d have to dig through boxes to find your trust documents so you could remember your lawyer’s name and find his contact information. Who has time for that?
It’s not until you become incapacitated or die and your family finds a binder you stuck up on a shelf several years before and never looked at again, that they’ll realize your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your assets, or the law.
Your family is at a loss. They don’t know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to go to court to clear your assets, even though you didn't want your family to go through that. Or, perhaps your lawyer stuck you with more basic paperwork, leaving your family with months worth of work, stress, and potential conflicts. Will they even find all of your property?
How Do I Know All This?
Because not too long ago, it happened to me and my family. It left me with questions about why this happened and whether my experience was necessary. Unfortunately, what I discovered is the estate planning industry was not designed to serve growing families who experience lots of change on their way to success. It was designed to serve 70 and 80-year old’s who were preparing for death.
I decided that I could not let this happen to MY clients. Since then, I have re-engineered the traditional estate planning process and made it my mission to help as many families as possible avoid these outcomes. Along the way I have seen and helped many clients who have had this exact experience.
We Prepare You For Life
What makes our firm different is that we are not here to create a set of documents you will likely never update or look at again, we are here to ensure your loved ones have someone to turn to when you are no longer here, and when that time comes, that your plan IS GOING TO WORK! We also support you in planning for not just legacy (what you leave behind when you are gone), but for life as well.
We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you desire a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You want to know you’ve made the best decisions for your family during your lifetime and that your family will be left with ease and aware of your love by how well you prepared. The last thing your family needs while dealing with the shock of your loss is to deal with a complex process.
You want to make sure your children would be taken care of in the best way possible and will be properly prepared to receive your wealth, when it is time.You want to feel confident that you’ve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you aren’t leaving behind a mess, when something happens.
That is our focus as well. We provide unique systems, estate planning tools, and strategies that will work when you need them, so you can have confidence that your family is protected as you build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, we keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created. We can help even if you’ve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online.
We Are Here For You
We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we’ve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.
We are ready to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you won’t have to worry about receiving another bill. And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.
We Also Help You Transfer Your "Family Wealth"
Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall “Family Wealth” which is made up of your far more valuable – and most often lost upon incapacity or death – intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up what’s most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets.
Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. It’s just not a priority, until it’s too late. How much do you know about your grandparents’ values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime?
If you are like most people, you know very little. That’s why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience – the truly valuable assets your loved one’s care about the most.
We’ve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I can’t go into all of the details here, but we’ll definitely talk about it when you come in for your session. Contact us now to schedule a planning session with our Baytown estate planning lawyer.