My estate planning clients often tell me that they want to leave a legacy for their families after they are gone. Depending on the value of the client’s estate, this legacy will look very different from one family to the next, but the dream is the same: to leave as much as possible to loved ones in a way that is most beneficial to the recipients. I help my clients achieve this goal by minimizing potential losses to taxes, liability, and long-term care and allowing them to maintain as much use and control over their estates as possible while they are alive.
Who Needs an Estate Planning Attorney?
Whether you’ve worked and built up savings over the course of your lifetime or you’re a business owner with most of your net worth tied up in your business, there are many different options to safeguard your assets and a vast abundance of resources available online. So naturally, people often ask, “Why should I hire an Estate Planning attorney?”
If you are insisting, “I can handle it myself,” please think beyond today and tomorrow. The process is complicated—more complicated than it may seem. And it takes a very particular kind of knowledge and experience. It’s a big deal. I’m prepared for whatever challenges you bring to the table, including the following:
- Your estate is large enough to potentially be subject to gift and estate tax. Avoiding gift and estate tax for high-net-worth individuals requires sophisticated, properly implemented estate planning tools. In my practice, I’ve had a great deal of experience with minimizing tax liabilities for multi-million dollar estates and can present a variety of options suited to your situation.
- You own a business. Succession planning, protecting your business from personal liabilities, and shielding your personal assets from business liabilities are important parts of any estate plan for business owners.
- You have young children. Who will care if you’re not there? An important piece of your estate plan is planning for young children who depend on you. I can recommend a variety of tools such as standby guardians, minor’s trusts, and much more. Your children are your most valuable asset, and I will make sure they are protected.
- You have a child with special needs. If you have a child with disabilities like autism or Down syndrome, you want to make sure they’ll have the best quality of life possible. Special needs planning is a specialized subset of estate planning that requires an understanding of the child’s needs and limitations as well as the importance of remaining eligible for public benefits.
- A particular charity is near and dear to your heart. Charitable giving is becoming an increasingly popular part of many people’s estate plans, and it can provide significant tax advantages as well. Discussing your wishes for supporting particular charities will be part of our comprehensive estate planning meeting.
- You may need to pay for long-term care one day. This is a tricky category because all of us—young or old, rich or poor—should be concerned with how we will pay for long-term care if we need it someday. I bring my knowledge and experience in elder law to all of my estate planning clients as we consider every possibility for the future.
These days, you can turn to Google or Legal Zoom with questions, but I strongly discourage you from doing your estate planning this way. Estate planning is a highly specialized and technical field governed by federal and state laws that are constantly changing. Don’t risk your legacy and your family’s future by letting the internet do your estate planning for you!
Don’t Be Misled by One-Size-Fits-All Documents
Keep in mind that estate planning is not an off-the-shelf process. You should never accept pre-packaged plans or cookie-cutter forms: your family deserves better. When you sit down with me, I will take the time to get to know you on a personal level. I will explain the Estate Planning Lifecycle—an important concept that recognizes the need to revise and renew estate plans over the course of a lifetime.
Estate Planning is one of the most important processes you will ever take part in, so you certainly don’t want to rely on guesswork or experimentation to get it right. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from having a personal relationship with a trusted estate planning attorney.
Get to Know Attorney Mark Connell
My path to the practice of law was not a typical one. I think my diverse life experiences as a molecular biologist, physical therapist, real estate developer, and small business owner have made me a more resourceful and understanding attorney. I have designed a very unique process that guides you through the decisions you must make to protect what you’ve worked so hard to build. We don’t know what the future will bring, but we can put a plan in place now that considers every possibility. Fill out my contact form or give me a call at (203) 488-5586 to discuss how I can help you.