Clients should expect three elements from their estate planning attorney — education, design, and implementation. At Peter Shelton Law, we start by interviewing and then educating our clients on the choices they can make concerning their estate plans. Every family is different, so every situation requires personal attention. Next, we design a plan that meets each client’s unique needs. Finally, we provide instructions and service to implement the plan.
Implementation is crucial. For instance, a carefully drafted will that isn’t signed and properly witnessed is useless. Sometimes, people set up trusts but never transfer any assets to the trust. That’s like buying a pair of shoes but never wearing them.
Once designed and implemented, an estate plan should meet three main goals. First, it should ease the financial transition for your family and loved ones. A smooth transition happens when clients have clearly defined estate plans with three major pieces: A will or trust; a durable power of attorney, and an advance health care directive.
Second, your plan should help minimize or eliminate estate taxes, which can erode or eliminate accumulated wealth. Finally, you and your family should have peace of mind that your estate plan is properly designed and implemented to accomplish your goals. When that is done, clients find that one major item on their long “to-do” list is under control.
Probate is the process of administering a will, making sure all of the person’s debts are settled and all of her assets pass to those she intended to receive them. It is a court-supervised process. Probate can take several months to several years, depending upon the complexity of the estate and the acumen of the attorney. At Peter Shelton Law, we understand that a long open probate prolongs emotional pain and financial inconvenience, and we strive to move estates efficiently through the system.
Sometimes, people fight over money. When that happens, we will protect your rights and property. If litigation is necessary, we will proceed in an appropriate and economically sensible manner.