Q: I'm buying property and am not sure at what point in the process I need a lawyer. I've been told it's a standard form contract and that I don't have to worry. When should I hire an attorney?
A: Once you sign a Contract - even a "standard form" - you are legally obligated to all of its terms and conditions. It's best to hire an attorney prior to signing a Contract so that you can be sure that you understand, and agree with, everything that is included.
Q: I've signed a Contract and am buying property. Do I need to hire an attorney?
A: Between Contract and Closing, your attorney reviews all documents effecting title to the property you're purchasing, assuring that your title is clear. Even when you receive title insurance as part of the purchase of real estate, there are exceptions to title insurance coverage that should be carefully reviewed.
Q: What is an estate plan?
A: An estate plan addresses issues associated with transferring assets at the time of death, reducing or eliminating taxes and costs of administration. Estate plan documents include Wills and Trusts, depending on the specifics of each individual's circumstances and concerns. In addition to issues associated with transfer of assets at death, a complete estate plan addresses issues associated with the possibility of incapacity, including short- and long-term. Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of Health Care Surrogate purposes can be executed by an individual and assure that decisions will be made by a trusted individual who is aware of personal preferences and beliefs. An estate plan also includes a Living Will Declaration.
Q: My spouse and I don't have a lot of assets. We don't need an estate plan, right?
A: Estate planning involves far more than distribution of assets at the time of death. A complete estate plan includes addressing issues related with possible incapacity, temporarily or long-term, so that both personal financial affairs and medical decisions can be handled by someone you trust and appoint to act in your best interest. Anyone who has children, especially minor children, should have an estate plan so that they decide who will be responsible for their children, and their children's assets, in the event of untimely death or incapacity.
Q: Someone important in my life just died and I have all their paperwork. What do I do?
A: Most important is to take care of yourself and take time to grieve and share the experience with loved ones. Keep all the paperwork, including incoming mail, in a safe place. We can schedule an appointment for as soon as feels comfortable to all involved. We understand that sometimes family members are only in town for a few days and try to accommodate everyone's schedule and meet promptly. Our office will then provide the person appointed with support each step of the way, contacting all creditors, gathering all assets, keeping beneficiaries informed and taking all steps necessary to complete the probate process.