EVERY FAMILY HAS A UNIQUE STORY TO TELL – OUR ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY IS ALL EARS
Estate Planning Attorney and Estate Planning Services
THE BASICS: ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES
Our estate planning attorney begins the estate planning services process by listening to the stories of our Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho clients. We learn about their unique circumstances. We answer all of their questions. We help them understand their legal options. And, we create estate plans to meet their specific goals.
Estate planning documents are the tools used by our Spokane and Coeur d’Alene attorneys to build customized plans for our clients – like a carpenter uses a variety of tools to build a house. Some common estate planning documents used by our estate planning lawyers include:
- Beneficiary Designations
- Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Directives
- Memorial Instructions
- Community Property Agreements
Sometimes a client may need a very specialized document – we do that too. We help farming families and small business owners pass their operations to children and grandchildren. We help families protect minor children or dependents with special needs. We help elderly clients plan for long-term care. We help high net-worth individuals minimize their potential tax liability. We even help clients plan for their pets.
We believe that great communication is the key to perfecting a client’s estate plan. Often a client has no idea what planning options might be available for transferring assets to loved ones or friends, gifting to churches or charities, and minimizing the amounts paid to creditors or the government. We want our clients to make great decisions. We answer all of your questions, and we make sure you completely understand the advantages and disadvantages of all of your options. For some clients, these discussions are done quickly. For others, we spend hours – sometimes lots of hours on this education process. Importantly, we don’t bill our clients for the time we spend with them answering questions or discussing these matters – whether in person, on the phone, or by email. We want our clients to be in a position to make fully informed and intelligent decisions. If we charged our clients for this process, they may be less likely to ask all of the questions that come to mind. We avoid that problem. You can ask us anything, anytime – talk to us about anything that’s on your mind. And, we never charge you for it. See Our Process to learn more.
In Depth: Estate Planning Services
Five Estate Planning Documents That Everyone Needs, and Our Estate Planning Attorney Provides
Every adult needs a will. Without one, administrating an estate when someone dies can become a complicated, time consuming, expensive mess. Without a will, the government will control how your assets are distributed. To see what happens if you die without a will, click here. With a well written will, estate business can be handled with ease, and your wishes are carried out exactly as you intend. We strongly encourage all of our clients to take steps to minimize the burden their family and friends (and sometimes business partners) will bear when the client dies. Creating a will is the first step to avoiding that chaos. Be kind to your loved ones – make a will, and for your protection, have it done by an estate planning attorney. Estate planning services begin with a will.
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Health Care Directive
What kind of care do you want if you are near death? A Health Care Directive, sometimes called a “Living Will”, lets your family and your doctors know your wishes. By thinking carefully about end of life situations, you can make an informed and intelligent decision about issues like resuscitation, hydration, and nutrition. We encourage all of our clients to sign a Health Care Directive, and to visit with their families and physicians about their wishes. A family with a loved one in a terminal condition will face many emotional, physical, and financial concerns. By signing a Health Care Directive, you give your family the gift of one less uncertainty.
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney designates someone to act on your behalf in a wide range of financial matters if you become incapacitated. Writing checks, paying bills, making deposits, directing investment accounts, managing a business, and selling real estate are some of the many powers you can give to a close relative or trusted friend by naming them your “Attorney-In-Fact”. Importantly, you do not give up any control over your affairs when you create a Financial Power of Attorney. You can decide whether the authority to act on your behalf usually begins immediately, or if it begins only if you become incompetent. A Financial Power of Attorney allows a member of your trusted decision making team to start protecting you financial interest quickly and efficiently if you cannot.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney designates someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. Like a Financial Power of Attorney, the authority to visit with your medical providers or make treatment decisions does not take effect until you become incapacitated. Without a Medical Power of Attorney, your family or friends may need to petition a court to appoint a guardian for you. Guardianship petitions take a long time to complete, and they are expensive. By naming a close family member or friend to act on your behalf if you are incompetent, you allow someone close to you to begin immediately acting on your behalf on serious matters of life and death.
Memorial Instructions let your loved ones know your wishes about the disposition of your remains when you die. For many clients, this is a deeply personal matter. What you want done with your body and the type of memorial service you would like are often influenced by your religious beliefs, philosophical principals, or your sense of humor. By leaving a set of instructions, you inform your family of your preferences. You let them know how you want to say goodbye.