With our life and legacy planning model, we help you confidently make legal and financial decisions so you know you have a plan to keep everyone you love out of court and out of conflict after you pass.
You love your family and want to make sure they know exactly what to do and have a trusted advisor to help them if (and when) something happens.
Life is full of complex legal and financial decisions, and you do not have to make them alone.
You may know that your life and legacy are about much more than money, but maybe you are not sure exactly how that translates into legal documents like Wills, Trusts, Health Care Directives, and Powers of Attorney. Maybe you are even thinking you can do it all yourself online given the new online technology being advertised daily that suggest you DIY your important planning.
We know (and will help you understand too) that do-it-yourself estate planning will leave your family lost and unsupported, and may even cause the loss of your assets when something happens to you. By then, it will be too late for your family to clean up the mess left behind.
With our help, you will feel confident that you have made all the right choices about the use of your resources while living, and that your family will be left with support and a clear plan if you become ill, are injured or pass away.
Read on for more…
Four Powerful Ways Your Life & Legacy Plan Protects Your Family
You keep your affairs private, you have complete control, you cover all scenarios (even the ones you forgot to think about), and you are being a good steward of your legacy.
1. You Keep Everything Private
A little known fact about probate court – which is where you end up if you do not plan in advance or if you have a poorly drafted plan from the internet – is that it is all public. Your affairs, no matter how private you were during your lifetime, are made public for any and all to see. Don’t believe it? Do a Google search for "probate court live YouTube" and see what you find. Instead of finding yourself at the center of a YouTube hearing, plan in advance to keep your legal, financial, and family information private.
2. You Have Complete Control
Without an estate plan, you are leaving all your most important decisions – legal, financial, and medical – up to a judge to make for you. Judges are extremely busy, they have never met you, and they do not know your values, your family, your needs, your desires, or your goals. Instead of relying on someone you have never met to carry out your wishes, take control over your affairs and document in advance who will make decisions for you.
3. You Cover All Scenarios
Despite the popularity of internet-drafted wills and trusts, a huge drawback of cookie-cutter documents is they do not cover all contingencies your loved ones may face, specific to your family dynamics and assets. How could they? As with all things, you get what you pay for. Our life and legacy planning process educates you on how we protect everyone and everything you love so together we can ensure your estate plan comprehensively covers your unique situation.
4. You Are Being A Good Steward
Life and legacy planning is not only about incapacity and death – it is equally about intentionally planning for your life. Our clients consistently tell us that our unique life and legacy planning process results in their becoming better parents, stronger business owners, and wiser citizens of the community simply because of how we help them look at everything they have and everyone they love to design their personalized estate plan.
What We Do
We help you to create a personalized plan that includes elements of all of the following, depending on what is best for you and your family. We have thoughtfully packaged what we do into customizable options for you and your family, and all of our fees are flat-rate and agreed to in advance so there are no surprises.
Wills, Trusts, and General Powers of Attorney
Health Care Directives and Medical Powers of Attorney
Asset Protection Planning
You Don’t Want To End Up A Statistic
U.S. Adults Without A Last Will
Dying without a Will means a stranger – a probate judge – makes all of the decisions for your family during a time of grief, including potentially who should be guardian of your minor children.
In Unclaimed Property In The U.S.
When you do not leave a current inventory of your assets that your family can easily find when something happens, your assets could go unclaimed, never even benefitting your family.
average Time Families Spend In Probate Court
Probate is a lengthy process, ranging from six months up to 5-10 years, or longer depending the case. On average, families spend two years in probate court that could have been avoided.
About Ashley L. Thompson
Hello, I am your neighborhood Personal Family Lawyer.
What I know is that your legacy is about more than wills and trusts, and it is about more than money. As your trusted advisor, I help you make the very best legal decisions for your family with the kind of guidance usually reserved for only very high net worth individuals.
Our life and legacy planning model covers not just what happens with your assets, but sets you up to pass on what matters most to you: Your values. Your priorities. Your relationships. Your life. Your legacy. All at a price that is much less than if your family had to go to court or be involved in conflict after you are gone.
Schedule Your Free 15-Minute Consult
With our life and legacy planning model, we help you confidently make legal and financial decisions so you know you have a plan to keep everyone you love out of court and out of conflict after you pass. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning
Your Last Will is a legal document through which you distribute some of your assets upon death. Other assets will be distributed not based on your Last Will but on your beneficiary designations, depending on the situation. Over two-thirds of the U.S. adult population does not have a Last Will, and for those who do, most Last Wills do not fully cover their situation. Upon death, the only way to make a Last Will valid is to file it in the probate court, a public and lengthy process that delays your family access to what you have left behind.
In the world of estate planning, the best outcome for you, your family, and your loved ones will be achieved only by working with a lawyer who encounters estate planning situations daily. You have worked your whole life for what you have and the relationships you have created. Unfortunately, some families collapse after the death of a loved one because they either did no planning at all, or if they did, it was through an online platform that knew nothing about their family or circumstances and that ultimately failed them when their family needed help the most. We encourage a lifelong relationship between you and your estate planning attorney so that you have a lawyer for life to be there for your family when you cannot be.
This is the most often asked question in estate planning, and that is okay – we know the topic of cost is a sensitive one when it comes to choosing a professional to guide you, and we have designed our fees on a flat-fee basis only so that you know exactly what you are committing to – and there are no surprises. While we cannot quote fees online or over the phone, we invite you to check out our upcoming educational events where we teach you things about estate planning you did not even know to ask. Plus, during our next event, we will cover our unique meeting process and fee schedule so that you know exactly how to take the next steps at the best time for you and your family.
Think of a Trust as a “Will substitute.” What we mean is that just as a Last Will distributes your assets upon death, a Revocable Living Trust does the same. The upside of a Trust over a Will is that a Trust need not be filed with the probate court to be effective, whereas a Last Will must be filed with the probate court to have any effect. As a result, a Trust remains a private document pertaining to your private affairs, whereas a Last Will becomes a public document after you pass away no matter how private you were during your lifetime. Of course, there are additional types of trusts as well that serve different purposes, and each family’s unique situation must be taken into account to design the right overall estate plan, which may include one or more Trusts.
No, of course not! After you are gone, your loved ones will miss you deeply – they will long for your words of counsel and concern, and hearing an old voicemail or reading a letter from you again would be a tremendous gift. This has nothing to do with money. Through our unique life and legacy planning process, you can give your loved ones the most precious gift of all – a lasting expression of your love. This is because we believe estate planning is not just about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings. It is equally about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: your values, insights, stories, and experiences. What could be more valuable? Estate planning is not only for those rich with money. Everyone we know already has an estate as valuable as anything in the world and that they should protect.
Your estate plan works no matter where in the U.S. you might physically be (such as on vacation) or might move to. This said, we always recommend finding your neighborhood Personal Family Lawyer to review your out-of-state plan to help you ensure you make any necessary updates based on differences in state law.
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