Everyone knows that you can go online and purchase certain Estate Planning forms and other legal documents. They are inexpensive and may appear to address your goals and objectives but are they the right documents for you? Will they truly provide the necessary solutions and protection(s) your looking for and need especially if unforeseen circumstances/events take place in your life after you sign these documents.
Here’s Why Working with Fredrick P. Niemann Esq. May Be the Better Approach
The advantage of working with me is not only my legal expertise but my real life experience. I have wisdom, wisdom gained from decades of practicing law and meeting with thousands of families. Over the course of many years, I have listened to the turmoil, anguish and mistakes of individuals who believed that they could do their own legal work or failed to have important legal papers prepared. Many failed to consult with an attorney before problems began or tried to self-help the situation and wound up costing themselves substantially more $$$), emotional conflict, and health problem, etc. The value of an experienced Estate Planning attorney knowledgeable in the area of Wills, Trusts, Estates and Powers of Attorney is that we are “counsellors at law”, professionals capable of assisting you with important choices and explaining your many options. My life experience comes in part from having children and a family of my own. I have four children. I have been through their early childhood, adolescence and into their emerging adult lives. I have sat with hundreds of couples who are in second and later marriages, often times with children of prior marriages which I call blended families. I have counselled LBGT couples and business owners who are looking to provide for the future and their succession planning. There are so many decisions that must be made and thoroughly contemplated before “filling in the form of a prepackaged legal document”, that one size truly does not fit all and you may experience an outcome you never contemplated or intended.
Here are some brief examples of what I mean. If you’re contemplating a trust, what should you consider when selecting a Trustee. First off, is a trust the right document for you? Should there be more than one Trustee for example, Co-Trustees, independent Trustees? Under what circumstances should distributions (if any) of income or principal be made from the Trust to beneficiaries? At what age should a trust for minors end? What are the income and death tax consequences of using a trust? Should you have a Will or a Trust? Which is the better choice? What about selecting a Guardian for your children, grandchildren, minors or incapacitated adults? What are the most important criteria in making those decisions? Then there are the choices of selecting a fiduciary. Should you or should you not use a single Executor or Power of Attorney or should Co-Executors and Co-Powers of Attorney be selected? Does it make more sense to pay death tax now or in the future rather than Federal and N.J. income tax for assets that are gifted or transferred to children and others (hint; there can be a major difference in the tax consequence ($$$) and your choice may cost you or your survivors substantially more tax in the future). Is a life estate or a gift of your house a good decision? These are just a few examples.
Here are some more things to think about.
Does it make sense to start gifting now in advance of chronic illness and advancing age. How can you protect yourself against the challenge to your Last Will or Trust particularly if family members do not get along and/or siblings have conflicts, or from those who are disappointed with your decisions and wish to contest your estate planning documents? What if a spouse or child/family member is reckless with money and/or is indifferent to the welfare of others? Can you avoid probate altogether simply and inexpensively? Does avoiding probate make sense? With me you will have the security and comfort in knowing that you have a trusted legal advisor at your side who is available to you whenever the need arises and our relationship can endure for many years to come.
I often use this analogy with families. If you decide to do the electrical work on your own house and it burns down because you made a mistake, you don’t get your house back because you were “not an experienced electrician”. You have lost your house. It’s not coming back. The same analogy applies with legal work. Maybe you are capable of doing it, in which case, I encourage you to pursue it to save money but often times you will not save money and by meeting with me or an experienced estate planning attorney you will likely save money plus have the confidence that the work product you sign meets your objectives.
People also question the costs of estate planning and what I call the value proposition. If we are going to charge you more than the fees for a “legal zoom” document or “rocket lawyer” form then we need to justify the value of our fees. That proposition is easily addressed because with me you get all of your documents prepared at a flat fee charge. I will recommend only those documents you need for today and if appropriate for tomorrow and beyond. You will know what the cost is before you authorize me to start. My documents will (most times) include (as part of my flat fee) Durable Healthcare Directive(s) and Living Will, Simple and Complex Power(s) of Attorney, Last Will and Testament and/or a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust. These are documents which you need now and/or in the future. My documents will also include (as advisable) a trust for minor and/or incapacitated disabled children, spouses, special needs adults and under appropriate circumstances I’ll address asset protection planning for later life illness, and possible nursing home placement. I will also talk to you about the importance of beneficiary designation(s) and how to avoid probate and reduce New Jersey Death and Inheritance Taxes.
So, you see, our firm really does offer you a value proposition. You get what you need and nothing more at a price that is generally less than other firms, particularly large law firms. But there is also another big difference with us and that has to do with the personal and generally friendly culture known of Hanlon Niemann & Wright. Every day we sincerely strive to give our clients the attention they need to address the unique circumstances of life and those that you seek to protect. Read about our culture in the many testimonials you see online.
I hope I have been able to offer a compelling reason to meet with me for your Last Will and Testament. I look forward to meeting with you. You can contact me toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your considering of our office.
Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney