It is the most natural feeling in the world to want to pass on a legacy to your children. You have worked to accumulate assets that one day can help them to buy a home, pay for your grandchildren’s college tuition or provide a safety net to ensure that they never find themselves in financial peril.
Weiner Law was established to help you to transition your assets to the next generation in a way that takes account of your particular family circumstances.
How do we do that?
Getting to know you
Estate planning is deeply personal.
Every family that we work with has unique dynamics and varying concerns. Some people are concerned about assets being lost if they pass away and their surviving spouse remarries. Some are concerned about protecting their assets from future creditor issues, bankruptcies or lawsuits. For others the priority is to minimize estate taxes so that as much as possible of what is left behind will be used for the benefit of family members and not be lost to the IRS.
Uncovering what your specific priorities are is where our process begins. Only by getting to know you and your family dynamics can we be in a position to advise on what is the best plan for you.
This is not about documents
Estate planning is not about documents. Documents are, of course, the byproduct of much of the work that we do. Documents give effect to the specific objectives that you set. Our role is to guide you in the decision making process towards being able to set those objectives. Documents can be purchased online. It is the advice and guidance that distinguishes us. A technically perfect document will lead to a failed estate plan if that technically perfect document doesn’t reflect the wishes of the client.
This is about assets
Comprehensive estate planning requires a full analysis of your assets. If you have assets that would go through probate after you pass away, we will want to transfer those into a trust. If you have retirement accounts, there are complex laws that govern how these accounts will be taxed when inherited by your family. These laws must be carefully analyzed alongside your specific objectives. If you have net assets that could potentially be subject to the federal estate tax (CROSS REFER TO ESTATE TAX PAGE?], we will need to consider whether implementing certain advanced planning strategies may be a appropriate with a view to reducing or even eliminating your family’s estate tax exposure.
Once this analysis has completed and your trust has been designed and signed, it is critical for assets to be transferred into the trust. Assets often get overlooked or are improperly transferred, leading to a failed plan. At Weiner Law, we produce a list of your assets and give you specific instructions as to how each asset should either be transferred to your trust or have beneficiaries re-designated. We will work with you to ensure that this important process is completed.
Three meeting process
Our unique three meeting process is designed to ensure the implementation of a plan that will work for your family.
Family Wealth Planning Session
We will look at what would happen with respect to your family and your assets if you pass away without a plan. If you have an existing estate plan, we will look at what happens under that plan. If you are not satisfied with the current situation, we will design a plan that accords with your specific objectives and gives you peace of mind.
Around 4 weeks after your Family Wealth Planning Session, we will meet to sign all of your documents. This is not the end of the process. We will share with you your asset list with instructions.
Asset Transfer Check in.
This is where we verify with you that the asset transfers and beneficiary changes have taken place. If there are questions, we address them. If there are assets that still need to be transferred, we continue to work with you to ensure that the asset transfer process is completed.
We believe that your legacy is about more than just the financial assets that you will leave for your family. Many people want also to pass on their stories, experiences, insights and values to future generations. With all of our plans, we give you the opportunity to make a recording so that poignant moments and the wisdom acquired during your lifetime can be passed on to your children and grandchildren and beyond.
Estate Planning is not a one off transaction
We are looking to build long term relationships with our clients. After you complete your plan, there is no doubt that your life will change and the law will change. It is imperative that you have an ongoing relationship with your estate planning attorney so that your plan can be updated over time. We encourage our clients to get in touch when significant events occur (or even just to say hello!) so that we can discuss whether any changes to your plan are needed. We are constantly monitoring for changes in law and inform clients immediately when there is a need to review their estate plan due to upcoming changes in law. At a minimum, we meet with you at least every 3 years to ensure that your plan is up to date.
There is a team in place at Weiner Law to ensure that the estate planning process runs smoothly and that you feel supported throughout. We are going to be discussing with you some of the most important issues that you will ever confront. We take this responsibility seriously. Everyone that you deal with at our firm is there to make your estate planning experience straightforward, fulfilling and sometimes even a little fun!