Estate Planning for Blended Families
“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” ― Jim Rohn
I help blended families…
Congratulations! You have found happiness in a subsequent marriage. Perhaps you and your spouse are raising the children from your first families together. Or, you may have children of this marriage or you are planning to do so. Or, you may be empty nesters with children of former marriages. Nevertheless, blended families have unique estate planning concerns.
And you have concerns. You have nagging fears about what would happen to the children of your earlier marriages in the event of disaster. How do you insure your children get what they deserve, your spouses children get what they deserve, and the children of this marriage get what they deserve?
And what about yourselves? Have you thought about how you would protect yourself from a sudden medical crisis? The death of one of you? The death of both of you? Debilitating diseases? What about your retirement plans? What about your parent’s estate plan? How does it affect yours?
And that’s not all. If you pass away who will take care of your spouse? Will he or she have enough financial resources? Will your final wishes about your remains be known? Who will care for your children if you are both gone or disabled? Will your children receive what they need to when they need it? If your children don’t get along how will you avoid conflict between them? Can you protect a child’s inheritance from creditors, spouses, or ex-spouses? And what about taxes? You’ve heard about estate taxes, gift taxes, generation skipping taxes. It all makes your head hurt.
You know you need help to re-establish your peace of mind. And to create certainty about your affairs. You are confused about how to do this. You want and deserve an attorney that explains things clearly and solves your problems for a reasonable price.
I know how you feel
I have personally experienced the horrible agony of indecision and inexperience. When I graduated from law school over thirty five years ago I had a head full of theory and no practical experience. If an older attorney named Robert Gagniuk had not taken me under his wing and “showed me the ropes” I might never have figured it out and I will always be grateful to him for his mentoring. I am available to you to be your mentor in this process.
Also, there is an old maxim in the law that states that: “The lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client”. Even though I am a lawyer on occasion I have had to hire a lawyer myself when I have had a problem outside of my area of expertise. Because of this I know exactly how you feel. And I want to spare you that pain.
Therefore, blended families turn to me for help
Because many of my clients are blended families like yours, I only charge reasonable flat fees. In short, there is never an hourly charge and there are never any surprises.
In fact, in my office, you will take part in a Professional Estate Planning Process. First, we will schedule an appointment where we will discuss your family situation in detail. Next, I will create a customized plan for your family for a reasonable flat fee. Third we will execute the plan together. And finally we will implement the plan.
Blended Families are in good hands in my office.
After all, it took eight years of schooling to learn my profession. Specifically, my learning never stops because I take continuing legal education courses on a regular basis to maintain and improve my skills. Likewise, my practical experience runs deep. For example, I am a former Circuit Court Clerk. In addition, I am a former Special Assistant Attorney General. Moreover, I am a former Attorney Grievance Panel Chairman. Finally, I am a former adjunct professor at the University of Michigan. Most importantly, for over 35 years I have practiced Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianship and Conservatorship law. As an illustration I have handled over two thousand cases. On account of my experience some people have provided the testimonials below about how I do what I do. In conclusion you can have confidence that I possess the depth of experience required to prepare a custom plan to meet your individual needs.
So, you can get started now by calling me at (248) 432-1612 and scheduling a free consultation. However, if you need more information first you can learn some more at the page on this site named Wills v. Trusts
Doing nothing endangers blended families children
If you do not create the proper documents naming temporary guardians in the event of your incapacity or death your children will be placed with social services. If you do not name a permanent guardian in your will a judge, who knows nothing about you, your children, or the rest of your family will make a decision regarding who will raise your children.
Doing Nothing will result in probate
Probate is a BAD thing. This legal procedure has been described as a lawsuit against yourself for the benefit of your creditors. It is EXPENSIVE. Probate generally costs about 10% of estate. This includes : Court fees, a Bond; Personal Representative fees; Attorneys fees. Probate takes a LONG TIME – at least a year. Children don’t have immediate access to their inheritances but when they turn 18 they get it all at once and there are no provisions safeguarding them from spending it frivolously. It is a public proceeding and assets are not protected from loss to children due to divorce or lawsuits.
If you die without any estate plan, the law dictates who gets what. I personally experienced this. My grandfather was a very successful dentist who accumulated an estate of more than $400,000.00 when he died in 1975. That is a lot of money now and was a lot more then. My grandfather did not have any estate plan at all when he married for a second time shortly before he died. He promised to pay for college for all of his grandchildren (including me!). However, because there was no plan, the law said that his wife would receive 75 percent of the estate and his children would split the rest. After the expenses of contested probate my mother received about ten thousand dollars. The bulk of the estate went to the lawyers and the second wife. My college wasn’t paid for, which is what my grandfather expressly wanted.
Over the years as an attorney I have processed at least seven estates with the same sort of problems. I made a lot of money at these – I hope to save you this expense.
Doing nothing could also result in Guardianship or Conservatorship.
This is also a bad thing. In the event of a devastating illness such as stroke or Alzheimers disease without a plan the only resort is to create a Guardianship and Conservatorship for someone to take control of your affairs under court supervision. Proceedings of this nature cost a minimum of $3,500.00 and I represented a client in a contested case that cost $65,000.00. If your loved one is appointed the job is extremely burdensome because he or she will be required to account to the court and file reports on an annual basis. The most alarming thing of all is that the court may find your spouse unsuitable and appoint a stranger to fulfill these extremely important roles. This person becomes you – you will have very little recourse in challenging their decisions regarding your well being or finances.
You Can Insure your legacy…
On the other hand if you do create a proper plan handling your affairs in any of these circumstances is extremely simple. I have had many former clients thank me profusely at the ease in which their loved ones estates have been settled under plans I have drafted. This is the best insurance policy you can buy – a one time premium for less than the annual cost of an auto insurance policy – and although it will not ease the pain of your passing it will leave a legacy according to your terms and your timing and save your family countless hours of pain.
Planning your estate properly will result in removing your anxiety and your fear. When you are done you will be educated and have peace of mind because you will have a certainty of outcome. Call me at (248) 432-1612 or email me at email@example.com (Link will open in your Email application) and schedule your free consultation now.