See below for some answers to common questions about estate planning.
DISCLAIMER: The responses below are not intended to be legal advice nor are they intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult an attorney you trust before beginning or changing you estate plan.
At O'Brien Estate Law, we listen to you. We want you to have the peace of mind knowing that your plan will actually work when you and your loved ones need it most. If all you want is to check a box and create a set of legal documents, there are plenty of online resources you can use to create them.
But, if what you want is to know you’ve got a plan in place that will work when your family needs it, and keep the people you love out of court and out of conflict, and your assets out of the hands of the government, then we're the right fit for you.
Estate planning can mean many things, but when you are working with O'Brien Estate Law, we consider estate planning to be, in its essence, making sure all your wishes for the people, animals, and things you care about to be taken care of the way you want them to be taken care of in the event the unthinkable happens. In a more exact sense, this usually will include arranging and managing your assets in a way that ensures they are transferred to your beneficiaries in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible; describing and coordinating for the type of medical care you wish in the event you become incapacitated; and providing for the wellbeing of your children or pets to ensure they are cared for the way you would care for them.
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. A trust, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement in which you transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee, who manages them on behalf of your beneficiaries. A trust can help you avoid probate and may offer tax benefits.
A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer your assets into a trust during your lifetime. The trust is managed by a trustee, who is responsible for distributing the assets to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.
A living trust can help you avoid probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. It also provides more privacy than a will, which becomes a matter of public record after your death. Additionally, a living trust can be used to protect assets from creditors and provide for minor or disabled beneficiaries.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters. This can be helpful if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.
A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to act on your behalf in certain legal and financial matters. This can include managing your finances, paying bills, and making medical decisions if you are unable to do so. By creating a power of attorney, you can ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes even if you are unable to manage them yourself.
While you could argue that all competent estate planning attorneys have similar sets of skills and knowledge, many estate planning attorneys have very different approaches and work with very different types of clients. Some work with very high net worth individuals. Some work with younger families, singles, or more aged people.
It will always be more cost effective to use an online provider or low-cost attorney who will promote a “one-size fits all” approach. These providers focus on volume; and churn out cookie cutter documents so they can work with as many people as possible in a short period of time. The problem is that the client not only has a cold, impersonal experience; they end up with a plan that doesn't reflect their wishes, which can lead to unintended results in the long run for the family.
At O'Brien Estate Law, we take the time to discuss each client's situation and learn as much as possible about how they want things to look. We are focused on the client experience and working with families in all their different forms.
Yes. Plainly and simply, you will save money using an online will and trust provider. But, as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for." If you simply want to check a box, you should save the money and use an online provider. However, if you want to have a plan in place that will protect your assets, your home, your pets, and your family, you should work with an attorney who will take the time to listen to you and build a plan that is right for you where you are today and will grow that plan as you move to different stages of your life.
You know your financial position best and we are not financial planners. That said, having no plan in place, or the wrong plan in place, will be more expensive for your family in the long run. O'Brien Estate Law, LLC will work with you to determine the best approach for payment depending on your situation.
O'Brien Estate Law, LLC will never hit you with surprise charges. We will tell you our fees up front before either of us commits to moving forward. Barring dramatic changes in situations during the time we are working with you, those charges will not increase. All of our billing is flat rate. We do not charge by the hour and we are transparent with all of our charges and what you get for the money.
No. You wouldn't go to an attorney for financial planning and you should never go to an accountant for legal matters. A competent financial planner or accountant can help you plan your financial future, tax planning, investment income, or other financial related matters. But, any accountant or financial planner who wants to help you set up a trust or other estate plan may be committing unauthorized practice of law. Bottom line: see the right expert for your needs.
Estate planning at O'Brien Estate Law, LLC is not one size fits all. We offer levels of planning to suit your varying needs. From starter plans primarily for families with young children who are starting to build financial wealth to more robust plans for well-established families concerned with matters of asset protection, preservation and increased growth, we’ve got you covered.
Typically, our fees range between $1,500 for the most basic plans up to $8,000 on the high end for a more extensive plan that will keep your family out of court and out of conflict and will provide significant asset protection after death. Beware providers who are offering something for less than this range.
We’ve priced our planning taking into consideration both affordability and effectiveness. If you choose to meet with us, we will review the available planning levels with you, and you will choose your own fee based on your budget and the planning options that are most important to you and your family. Our plans are focused on ensuring your family has somewhere to turn if and when something happens to you, that your plan will work and you have real security, not the false security that comes with a cheap set of estate planning documents.
There truly is no one size fits all choice. We have created a process, though, to educate you quickly and effectively so that you can make empowered, informed choices about what you want for the people you love, so that you aren’t simply choosing the cheapest option because you don’t have any other basis for making your decisions.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but unless you are a deity, a vampire, or turritopsis dohrnii, you will die one day. It is an inevitability. There is also a possibility, though not as certain as death, that you could become incapacitated in some way. So, isn't it better to plan ahead and make sure we have things set up the way you want them?