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How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 02:53 PM   #1
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How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

The wife and I have decided to put an estate plan together. We have some specific ideas about what we would like the estate plan to include.

The basic living trust may not quite do what we want.

How would I go about finding a really good but not too outrageously priced person to put it all together ? We were thinking that an estate attorney would be the right kind of person.

How would I go about finding a good one ?

Please help educate me on any issues that I might not have thought of that would be important.
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 03:04 PM   #2
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Ask non-estate planning lawyers and ask the big firm accountants who they recommend. I know in my town of 80,000 people there is one preeminent estate planner. He has the highest hourly rate, but 10 to 1 the final bill isn't much different than the guys who quote a cheaper rate. (Of course, he was in my firm and I recommended him to anyone with any situation beyond a simple will).




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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

We asked for recommendations from people who we felt had more assets than us: our bosses and my racquetball partner. The latter was a lawyer in an office of many lawyers. Then we interviewed the estate lawyer that came up more than once. Then we did the deal with him.

Besides the paperwork, we received good common sense advice on guardians for our children and alternate guardians as well. Also we got advice on not controlling from the grave.

I felt the bill was not bad either, $600 each for the 4 biggies: will, bypass trust, durable power of attorney and health care proxy.
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 03:07 PM   #4
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Ditto - same question here! The last one we talked to years ago when we made wills (now way out of date) - I just wasn't impressed at all.

We recently got a copy of Plan Your Estate 8th Edition by by Denis Clifford and Cora Jordan, NOLO Press. This is supposed to help you figure out what you want before meeting with an estate attorney.

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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 03:41 PM   #5
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Stockbrokers also are a source of recommendations. (If anyone uses a local broker anymore).
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-21-2007, 06:49 PM   #6
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Also we got advice on not controlling from the grave.
Whether (and how much) to "control from the grave" has been an issue for me in updating our wills now that children are no longer minors and there is potential for greater inheritance than when current wills were drawn up .

What I'm stuck on are specifics for individual trusts for each child, that would serve a couple of purposes:

1) protect their inheritence principal from themselves (foolish spending, bad business idea (their own or future spouses), as well as from divorce, creditors, etc.).

2) provide regular income supplement at anticipated SWR, perhaps with some additional pre-qulified situations for special purpose withdrawals like extreme medical care, education that leads to further degree, etc.

3) keep the principal sensibly invested in diversified, low-cost investments.

4) perhaps also provide for significant drawdowns at certain age or accomplishment benchmarks.

The details of above (the specific conditions - not the legalities per se, which attorney can determine to achieve specifics) are what keep me from getting things properly wrapped up - paralysis of analysis.

I'd be curious to hear anyone's thoughts they'd be willing to share on how they may be dealing with similar specifics in similar situations. Or any pointers to good references with "case study" examples would be helpful as well.
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-22-2007, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Quote:
Originally Posted by stw
Whether (and how much) to "control from the grave" has been an issue for me in updating our wills now that children are no longer minors and there is potential for greater inheritance than when current wills were drawn up .

What I'm stuck on are specifics for individual trusts for each child, that would serve a couple of purposes:

1) protect their inheritence principal from themselves (foolish spending, bad business idea (their own or future spouses), as well as from divorce, creditors, etc.).

2) provide regular income supplement at anticipated SWR, perhaps with some additional pre-qulified situations for special purpose withdrawals like extreme medical care, education that leads to further degree, etc.

3) keep the principal sensibly invested in diversified, low-cost investments.

4) perhaps also provide for significant drawdowns at certain age or accomplishment benchmarks.

The details of above (the specific conditions - not the legalities per se, which attorney can determine to achieve specifics) are what keep me from getting things properly wrapped up - paralysis of analysis.

I'd be curious to hear anyone's thoughts they'd be willing to share on how they may be dealing with similar specifics in similar situations. Or any pointers to good references with "case study" examples would be helpful as well.
This is what a good estate planner is for. Not just dealing the the legalities, but helping you analyze what you want and how best to get there. See a good estate planner now, who can give you all sorts of stories and all sorts of ideas.


You don't just go to a doctor to get a pill. You go to figure out what pill you need. Same with estate planners.
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-22-2007, 08:39 AM   #8
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

We went with a lawyer on the MegaCorp legal plan. She did an excellent job walking us through all our options. She set up a trust, transferred all the properties into it, did the powers of attorney and so on. Then she updated everything when the MIL passed away.
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-22-2007, 08:37 PM   #9
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
This is what a good estate planner is for. Not just dealing the the legalities, but helping you analyze what you want and how best to get there. See a good estate planner now, who can give you all sorts of stories and all sorts of ideas.


You don't just go to a doctor to get a pill. You go to figure out what pill you need. Same with estate planners.
Martha , I didn't mean to trivialize the value of an attorney's advice by my obviously poor choice of the word "legalities". However, with the meter running at $250 per hour I do want to spend my time with my attorney as effectively as possible, for both of us. Clarifying my more philosophical goals (and perhaps some ideas for accompanying conditions or performance metrics to support those golas) prior to those sessions would help both him and me get the job done right and efficiently. So, what I'm really looking for is recommeded reading or thoughts from others who may have faced similar situations on how to strike the balance between granting independence, flexibilty and responsiblity for potentially life changing assets to my heirs, with my at least equal desire to productively help them in their lives on an ongoing basis, while also protecting them from inadvertant financial catatrophe. Yes, I do rely on my doctor for advice on how best to cure my illnesses, but by the point I am in his office, that is a much more clearly defined problem than what I am now considering, and the meter isn't running by the minute during those deliberations. I have met with my attorney. We did discuss some options. But a number of the specifics are ultimately mine to decide within the frameworks we discussed. I'd rather not waste his time (and my money) going over a lot of what if's if I can better focus that ahead of time with the help of other resources.

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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together
Old 02-23-2007, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: How would you find someone to put an estate plan together

I seem to recall that using a lawyer that is trained in "Elder Law" is a pretty good bet for most folks to get decent advice in estate planning. My attorney happens to claim to be an elder law attorney, though many of the clients that I have seen coming/going in the office are not what I would categorize as elderly.
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