HAVE QUESTIONS?

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Do I Need A Will?


Your will answers questions including who should care for minor children, at what point should children receive assets, how to divide assets in mixed families, what charitable giving (if any) you’d like to make, and who should be responsible for making decisions about your estate. Even if protecting your assets from taxes is not a consideration for you (Federal estate taxes are paid only if your assets are valued at well above $11.5 million), having a will that clearly states your wishes is essential, if you want to ease the way for your family.




Should I Make A Will Online?


The internet is loaded with websites promising “a complete estate plan for $199.” I’ve spent a lot of time researching these sites, and frankly, while the documents you get will likely not be filled with mistakes, or be simply wrong, they will be incomplete. A good estate plan is a personalized estate plan, something that is very difficult to do at a site that uses a set formula to create estate planning documents.
I strongly recommend working with a lawyer who asks the right questions about your needs, cares about you and your family, and plans your estate with your exact situation in mind. I'd love to have an initial conversation with you to figure out if my services are right for you.




What Is Included in an Estate Plan?


An estate plan is a comprehensive strategic plan that ensures that you and your family are covered in any circumstance. While a will is often the centerpiece of this plan, it is only one part of it. A good estate plan accounts for other assets that won’t pass under your will, including life insurance, retirement plans, and jointly held assets. Your estate planning attorney should account for these as well as providing you with a Financial Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive. The Power of Attorney designates someone to handle your finances in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to do so. Your Advance Healthcare Directive includes any end-of-life medical decisions as well as designating a trusted person to work with medical care providers on your behalf. When I create an estate plan for someone, I ensure that it is comprehensive and meets their needs for all eventualities. That’s why I ask my clients to fill out my questionnaire to give me a better picture of their situation prior to our initial meeting.




How Do I Change My Will?


Your will is not a “forever document.” You can change it at any time. If you want to make a small change, we use a document called a codicil, which is essentially an amendment. I am always happy to prepare a codicil for my clients at no charge. If bigger changes are needed, you are always free to rip up your will and write a new one. I’ve already written three wills for myself – when I got married, when I had children, and upon my separation. Once you write a new will (or power of attorney or healthcare proxy), the old one is no longer valid and should be destroyed to avoid any confusion.




What is Your Will-Making Process?


When you reach out to me, we will set up a time for an initial consultation, which typically takes 30 minutes to an hour. Prior to that meeting, I ask that you complete and return my questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire and our discussion, I will have enough information to draft your estate planning documents. While creating your documents, I will follow up with you to ask additional questions if they arise. I am also always available for any questions, changes or concerns that you may wish to raise. Once I've completed a draft of your will and other estate planning documents, I will send a draft to you, along with a detailed explanation. I will then make edits, and when we meet again, I will explain everything to you, answer your questions, and ensure that you sign your documents correctly. Once you sign the documents, you can store them somewhere safe and accessible, knowing that your family is cared for.




How Much Do You Charge for Estate Planning?


With me, you pay for a comprehensive estate plan that gives you comfort, regardless of how much time I spend on it. I charge a flat fee to create your estate plan. I don’t ever want to put you in a position of wondering whether you should pay for a 10 minute phone call or a quick change. My exact fee depends on how complex your plan is, and how much time I expect to spend on it. After an initial discussion, I will be able to tell you exactly how much your estate plan will cost, assuming that nothing major changes. This cost won't change, no matter how many times we talk or meet.




What if I Don't Live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?


I am licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and can only do estate plans for residents of these states. If you live outside PA or NJ, I have a great network of estate planning attorneys around the country and would be happy to refer to you someone from your home state.




Do You Work with Non-Traditional Families?


Absolutely. As I tell my girls, families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. I believe that everybody needs an estate plan, no matter what size or shape their family takes. I am LGBTQIA+ friendly, and I welcome the chance to help you plan for your family's future.




I Have More Questions!


If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask.




Do You Handle Estate Administration?


Yes. I do provide legal assistance to Executors with the administration of the estates of their loved ones who have passed. In my experience, the most challenging part of administering an estate is dealing with a lot of paperwork while simultaneously mouring a beloved family member or friend. Whether you need some guidance to manage the process yourself or want someone to handle all of the necessary steps for you, please reach out and we can discuss what is right for you and your unique situation.




Do I Need a Living Trust?


There are a number of estate planning tools used for various purposes. A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is a common tool used in many states to avoid probate. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, living trusts are not needed for most people. However, depending on your circumstances, it may be appropriate to set up a living trust or use other more advanced estate planning techniques to meet your needs better. I am always happy to discuss these tools during a free initial consultation.




What Precautions Have You Taken During the COVID Pandemic?


The COVID pandemic has caused all businesses to adjust how they provide services to their clients. Estate planning is no different. Video conferencing has become the norm for initial consultations and follow up meetings. When we do have to meet in person to sign documents, we have done so outside with masks on, everyone having their own pen, social distancing with the witnesses, and with plenty of hand sanitizer available. I take the risk of COVID very seriously, especially with many medical professionals and other front-line workers as clients, and do everything in my power to keep you safe.





Frequently Asked Questions