We Help Our Clients with Conscious Estate Planning
BECAUSE YOU HAVE A LEGACY TO LEAVE
6 common mistakes parents & lawyers make when
naming guardians for minor children
how we can help you
Planning for Everyone You Love and Everything You Have
Do you know what would happen legally – to you, your loved ones, your money and everything else you care about – if something unexpected happened to you?
If you don’t know what would happen, then the first step is to find out, so that you can decide if the current state of affairs is okay with you.
How Do We Help You With Your Legal Life Planning?
We help you to get clear about everything you need to know when it comes to planning for the well-being and care of your loved ones, yourself, your money and your property. If you decide the current state of affairs is unacceptable, and if we both decide that it’s a fit to work together, then we can design a customized estate plan (also called a “legal life plan”) that is tailored to your needs.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust to which you will transfer your property for your benefit during your lifetime. One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that, when done correctly and maintained over time, it will help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate, keep your affairs private, and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
Can I DIY My Estate Plan?
Unfortunately, most plans don’t work because much of what passes for estate planning is little more than word processing. You are asked a few questions and then the drafter decides which “plan” is right for you and quickly churns out some documents for you. This is not estate planning – it’s document drafting. While we create high quality legal documents at Conscious Legal, we consider this the byproduct of what we really focus on – which is building a trusted relationship with you, so we can support you throughout your lifetime.
We Are Professional Estate Planners
We will educate you and take the time to get to know you, your family, your concerns, and your goals and will gladly and patiently answer all your questions to produce an estate plan that is exactly right for you.
If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of, no matter what. At Conscious Legal, one of our areas of greatest expertise is protecting minor children.
Nobody expects to be sued. Just ask the 20 million people involved in lawsuits last year.
Divorce, inheritance, health issues, creditors, employees, theft, changing markets, malpractice suits, sexual harassment claims, natural disasters and disgruntled business partners are just a few issues that can result in devastating lawsuits for the unprepared. The highest level of risk falls on those who think they are immune.
Americans are now more concerned than ever about protecting their assets from creditor claims, taxes, divorce and other disasters. Rightly so.
The more success you have (especially in business, professional practice or real estate activities), the more at risk you are as others see your success grow.
Here’s some of the “risky behavior” you may be engaging in right now:
Will you be signing loan documents, a personal guaranty or a lease? Do you have rental properties or employees? Do you work in construction or perform professional services? Are you getting married and have children from a prior marriage or separate property assets you are bringing into the marriage?
Here’s the thing: all of these activities are activities we want to see you do more of! They are, in many ways, the spice of life. But we don’t want that spice to become too hot and impact your life negatively.
That’s where we come in. We can set up your business and life structures to ensure that you can take maximum risk with minimum worry.
We assist our clients in determining the appropriate level of asset protection planning for their particular circumstances. We will consider insurance, marital agreements, asset segregation, gifting, LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and asset protection trusts. Customized combinations are layered depending on the needs of the client and as appropriate.
There are many different strategies to accomplish the protection of your assets while you are alive and after you are gone. To find out which strategies may be right for you, contact us for a Life and Legacy Planning Session.
Did you know that 69% of parents have not yet named guardians for their kids?
And of the 31% who have, most have made one of 6 common mistakes?
Look above to download our free PDF on the 6 common mistakes most parents (and their lawyers!) make when naming legal guardians.
Then schedule a Life and Legacy Planning Session with us today so we can help you fix those mistakes, and ensure your children are always cared for and protected, no matter what.
The reality is that having a Will alone simply does not ensure the care of your children if the unthinkable happens to you!
A Kids Protection Plan is a set of instructions, legal documents and even an ID card for your wallet, which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care.
If you are in an accident, your Kids Protection Plan will make sure your children are never taken into the custody of Child Protective Services, strangers or the care of anyone you wouldn’t want because the authorities don’t have clear instructions from you. And your Kids Protection Plan will ensure your children are raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by a Judge who doesn’t know you!
Explaining to you how we’re different requires an explanation of what the “traditional” experience with a lawyer is like. If you’ve worked with a lawyer to prepare estate planning documents for you in the past, this will sound familiar.
During the traditional experience, you’ll go in and meet with a lawyer who will oftentimes make things seem very complicated and confusing.
You’ll have a good idea your lawyer is smart and seems to know what she is doing, so you’ll nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing, you’ll have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you’ll sign the documents, feeling relieved you got THAT taken care of.
You’ll take your fancy estate planning documents home, stick them on a shelf or in a drawer, mark estate planning off your checklist as DONE, feel good and never think about it again.
You might remember your lawyer said something about moving your bank accounts into your trust, so you’ll go to the bank, forget what you were supposed to do, call your lawyer’s office, get a voicemail, have to leave the bank and wait for a call back, (which sometimes takes days) and by that time, you’ll have gotten busy with other things and never get around to moving that bank account.
A few weeks later, you’ll get a bill in the mail for $100 for 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You’ll make a mental note– don’t call lawyer ever again.
Several years later, you’ll refinance your house or sell it and buy a new one and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know or make sure you kept the title in the name of the trust.
Your children will get older, making your guardianship choices outdated, but you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you’ll get a bill in the mail two weeks later.
You’ll hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure you’d surely get a letter in the mail from your lawyer if it was something that affected you, so you don’t worry about it. And, you’d have to dig through boxes to find your trust documents so you could remember your lawyer’s name and find her contact information. Who has time for that?
It’s not until you become incapacitated or die and your family finds those documents you stuck in a drawer several years before and never looked at again, that they’ll realize your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your assets and the law.
Your family is at a loss. They don’t know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to probate your assets, which never made it into the trust.
What makes our firm different is that we were built with the actual needs of our clients in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You may be working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support, caring for children, or working on your career. You want to know you’ve made the best decisions and that your plan will work when it’s needed most. If you have minor children, you want to make sure they would be raised by the people you choose (and never by anyone you wouldn’t want), and that your personal wishes would always be honored.
You want to feel confident that you’ve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you aren’t leaving behind a mess.
That is our focus as well. We’ve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a Personal Family Lawyer as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and ease.
We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we’ve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.
We are here to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you won’t have to wait days for a phone call back. You’ll get your question answered. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your Personal Family Lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you’re both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time.
And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on, and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.
We have a “funding coordinator” to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or are lost to the state because they were missed after your death.
One day you will again need a lawyer. I don’t know why and I don’t know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and we’ll be here to advise and support you.
We believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your Legacy, which is made up of your far more valuable – and most often lost upon incapacity or death – intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up what’s most important to you. And, most people say that what they care about even more than inheriting money is inheriting these intangible assets. We realized we had to build this into our planning process, and not make it just another thing you’ll get done someday.
Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your money and property to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on these intangible and priceless assets, but very few ever get around to it. It’s just not a priority, until it’s too late. How much do you know about your grandparents’ values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime?
If you are like most people, you know very little. That’s why we’ve built the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money and property, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience – the truly valuable assets your loved one’s care about the most.
What Would It Be Worth?
Can you picture someone who’s passed away, someone you love and miss deeply? Can you recall a conversation you had with them? Can you remember the sound of their voice and what they told you? What if you could hear their voice again?
What if they could speak to you—heart to heart—and share their wisdom and advice? What would it be worth to you to hear their words one more time?
Through our unique legacy process, you can give your loved ones the most precious gift – a lasting expression of your love. What could be more valuable?
you have questions?
WE HAVE ANSWERS
what is a life & legacy
Our process begins with a Life and Legacy Planning Session with a Personal Family Lawyer. Before the Session, you will complete homework that will have you feeling more organized and put together than you have in a long time. Maybe ever.
During the Session, we will look at what would happen to all of what you have and everyone you love, if anything were to happen to you.
Then, we’ll determine a plan together to make sure everything goes the way you want so you are always in control. And so those you leave behind know just how much you care.
Should we decide there are things we can do to take care of things better than they are taken care of now, we will present you with planning options that allow you to decide on your fee and the level of service that is right for you.
"You aren't wealthy until you have something money can't buy."
• garth brooks •
I’m attorney Alanna Pearl. Thanks for visiting the website for my law practice, Conscious Legal. My boutique law firm started as a dream that has now become a reality to educate and empower my clients to make the best decisions throughout their life so they can experience peace, ease, and create a lasting Legacy. You’ll find quickly I’m not your typical lawyer – and I think that’s a good thing. Please look around and if you like what you see, send me a note to introduce yourself!