Estate Planning
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Every person should have an estate plan regardless of age, health, or wealth. We offer 'Special Purpose Estate Planning' because we believe every client's situation is unique. For example, we customize estate plans for a wide variety of concerns, including:

  • Special Needs Children
  • College Students
  • Pets 
  • Precious Metals, Jewelry and Coins
  • Farms
  • Vacation Properties
  • Digital Assets
  • Art
  • Guns and much more

We identify these issues through a meaningful conversation with each client. It's common for clients to have an 'a ha' moment when we help them discover an overlooked issue or recommend a way to protect their family. 

As an example of our Special Purpose Estate Planning, read our recent blog, Estate Planning for Your 18+ y.o. Child

Beware of generic estate plans or do-it-yourself forms. There are three estate-planning documents everyone should have:

  • A will. It's important for you to decide who inherits your assets, but it's just as important to decide who manages your affairs. These two goals are accomplished in a will. If you don't make these decisions in a will, a court of law will make all those decisions without concern for your wishes.
  • A durable power of attorney. Pick someone you trust to make financial and legal decisions for you if you're ever incapacitated. We ask clients to consider a back up person as well.
  • Advance Medical Directive. If you're incapacitated, you need to name someone else to make decisions about your health care or end-of-life decisions within parameters you set in advance. We help clients determine who could make clear-headed, informed decisions on their behalf.

What happens if you don't have an estate plan? If you were ever incapacitated, your loved ones may lack the authority to make decisions for you and act on your behalf. At the end of your life, a court would distribute your assets based on the default rules of the law regardless of your wishes. Failure to create an estate plan could also increase the likelihood of a disputes over your estate. The three documents above address these concerns.

Additionally, we help clients create trusts. Unlike a will, a trust avoids probate and protects your privacy. A trust can also protect you during your lifetime if you were to become incapacitated. 

Contact us to discuss your estate planning goals. We provide prospective clients a helpful worksheet to help you determine how you and your loved ones would benefit from our Special Purpose Estate Planning. 

 

ESTATE PLANNING QUESTIONNAIRE

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Personal Representative: In your Last Will and Testament, you will appoint a personal representative to be responsible for the administration and settlement of your estate. Provide the agent’s full legal name and relationship to you. You may name your spouse/partner, but it is very important to name one to two backups in rank order in case something happens to both of you. The person would serve as Personal Representative individually in rank order starting with the first person you identify below.

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Funeral: Please indicate your preferences (burial, cremation, religious services, memorial, etc.), if any.
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Please list each child, living or deceased. Indicate whether a child is adopted or from a prior marriage, etc.

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Guardian for Children Under Age 18: If you have a child under age 18, name a guardian, other than your spouse/partner, who will have the legal authority and duty to protect your child’s personal and property interests in the absence of both parents. We recommend you and your spouse/partner choose the same guardian(s).

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Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA): In this document, you would name an agent, who will make financial decisions on your behalf (e.g., cashing checks, paying bills, etc.) if you are unable to do so. Please provide the full legal name of your agent. You may name your spouse/partner, but it is very important to name one to two backups in rank order in case something happens to both of you. Person(s) would serve as your DPOA Agent individually in rank order starting with the first person you identify below.

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Advance Medical Directive (AMD): In this document, you will appoint your agent(s) who may receive your confidential health information and make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You may appoint your spouse/partner, but it is very important to name one to two backups. Person(s) would serve as your AMD agent individually in rank order starting with the first person you identify below.

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Revocable Trust Agreement: Unlike a will, a trust may distribute your assets privately and efficiently without the need for a public probate court process, and, unlike a will, a trust could hold assets for your care while you’re incapacitated. If you wish to create a revocable trust, you would serve as the initial trustee to manage the trust. You would name one or more ‘successor trustees’ who would manage the trust for your benefit. Upon your death, the trustee succeeding you would distribute the trust assets according your trust. Please provide the full legal name of each successor trustee and his/her relationship to you. For a couple, you may name each other as your successor trustees, but it is important that you name backups in rank order in case something happens to both of you. Successor trustees would succeed you individually in rank order starting with the first person you identify below.

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Distribution of Your Estate: In the space provided below, identify each person you wish to inherit from you and the percentage of your total estate each person is to receive for a combined total of 100%. For a couple, you might want your surviving partner to inherit 100%, and if your partner does not survive you, your children or others would inherit in equal shares. We will assume you wish distributions to be per stirpes so that if a person predeceases you, that person’s share would be subdivided by his/her own heirs. For example, “100% to spouse, then to my two children in equal amounts, per stirpes.” You may indicate that your plan should match the distributions on your partner’s questionnaire.

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To make a gift to a charity, obtain the charity’s own language for bequests to make in your estate plan. In the space below, provide this information and details of the charitable gift:
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Trustee of Child’s Trust: If any person to inherit from you is now under age 18, you may name a trustee who will manage a trust for that child and later distribute the inheritance at adulthood. Do NOT name your spouse/partner, if any. The person(s) you identify would serve as the Child’s Trustee individually in rank order starting with the first person you identify below.

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Distributions from Child’s Trust: If your estate includes a child’s trust, we will assume that trustee should have the authority to use trust assets for a child-beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance, and support. Please specify at what age the trust assets would become the property of such a beneficiary. You might prefer a gradual process. For example, the child’s trust could distribute 25% of the assets to the beneficiary at age 25, then the rest at age 30. You may indicate that your plan should match the plan already provided on the questionnaire of your partner/spouse.
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Asset Summary:

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Instructions: Check all that apply. Provide approximate values. Specify who owns the ownership of each asset (self, spouse/partner, joint).
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If you wish to create a trust to own this real property, we will need a copy of the deed. See instructions at the end of this questionnaire.
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If you wish to create a trust to own this real property, we will need a copy of the deed. See instructions at the end of this questionnaire.

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If you wish to create a trust to own this real property, we will need a copy of the deed. See instructions at the end of this questionnaire.

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Please note, our estate planning services are not for estates greater than $4 million per person.

Client Certification: I have provided accurate and complete information to enable Bergstrom Attorneys PLLC to achieve my goals for my estate planI understand additional fees could apply to services beyond the scope of my Engagement Letter. I understand the remaining balance of my fees, if any, will be due 30 days after delivery of my draft documents, or at appointment to sign my documents if sooner.

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Next Steps: We will use this questionnaire to draft your estate planning documents. We will address questions by email you or in a scheduled teleconference. We will provide a draft of your documents to review, after which we will address questions by email or phone. Finally, we will schedule an office appointment to provide final instructions and to sign your documents. Deeds to Real Estate: If you wish assign real estate to a new trust, please email us a copy of the deed. The deed is the document that is dated the day you purchased and closed on your home. The first paragraph of your deed will identify the seller(s) and your name(s) as buyer. The deed will be signed by the seller(s) on the last page. Please note, the deed is not the “Deed of Trust” that was prepared by your lender for your mortgage. If your deed is missing, you may obtain a copy from your county’s Land Records office.

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ARSENAL ATTORNEYS HAVE BEEN FEATURED BY

 

 

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice. 9.1Matthew John Bergstrom Matthew John BergstromClients’ ChoiceAward 2014 Matthew John BergstromReviewsout of 16 reviews


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Arsenal Attorneys is committed to answering your questions about estate planning, firearms, business law, litigation, and criminal defense issues.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

OFFICE LOCATIONS

4000 Legato Road
Suite 1100
Fairfax, VA 22033
800.819.0608

 

3175 Sunset Boulevard
Suite 102
Rocklin, CA 95677
800.819.0608