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Making a Will or Estate Plan

WHAT DO I NEED? HOW MUCH SHOULD I PAY?

When you call Bob Goodall at Goodall Pelt & Carper, P.C. ,(540)-659-3130, to ask about estate planning, we will send you for free in advance an explanation of the main things which we discuss in a face-to-face consultation, which will include a review of what you have already done. For example, you may have bank accounts with survivorship or pay-on-death (POD) provisions. You may have life insurance with designated beneficiaries. You may have beneficiaries for retirement accounts, etc. We can discuss the consequences of what you have done. It may be exactly what you want; or it may need to be changed.

Other quesstions and topics that will be discussed:

  • Do you need a trust?
  • Do you or your spouse have children by a prior marriage? What concerns does that raise?
  • Tell us about the people to whom you want to give your property (usually spouses, children and grandchildren). Are there any special needs or concerns? Is there any reason NOT to transfer wealth directly to any of these people? For example:
    • An underage child will require an adult to hold and manage property for him.
    • A beneficiary with lots of debt may be at risk of losing your gift to his creditors.
    • A beneficiary with a problem marriage may be at risk of losing some of it to a separating or divorcing spouse.
    • A beneficiary who simply does not handle money well may be at risk of losing the benefit of it.
    • A disabled beneficiary with special needs might qualify for government assistance if he is not the owner of the assets.

If none of these things are true for all of the people to whom you want to leave property, then a simple will may be the best plan.

With each will, we also give you a form which lets you later list specific items (things you can touch like photo albums, other items of sentimental value, household furnishings, etc.) and state who is to receive them, without formally changing your will.

If you or your spouse have children by a prior marriage; or if there is a reason not to give wealth directly to one of the people to you want to benefit, then the best plan may be to create a trust to safeguard that property to insure it actually benefits the people you intend.

If a trust is the right choice, then we create it and help you transfer assets to it. That may be a deed to transfer real estate. It may mean helping you tell an investment account broker to make the trust the owner of the investment account or to make the trust the pay-on-death beneficiary of a certificate of deposit, etc.

We create a financial power of attorney to appoint trusted agents to act in your place (and only for your benefit), if the need arises. We discuss what powers you should give.

We create an advance medical directive, to see that your wishes for your own health care will be followed, if you are unable to give those directions. We discuss your choices.

Based on your personal situation-who you want to benefit and what assets you have-we will prepare the right documents for you.

FEES

We charge $150 at the initial face-to-face consultation, and we credit that $150 against the final fee.

If the right estate plan for you includes:

  • A will
  • The form to designate specific people to receive specific items, without changing the will
  • A power of attorney for finances
  • An advance medical directive

then our total fee is usually $650 for a single person; or $750 for a married couple.

If the right estate plan for you includes all of the above plus:

  • A trust
  • Helping you transfer assets to the trust or making it the beneficiary of assets

then our total fee is usually $1500 for a single person; or $1750 for a married couple.

The attorneys at Goodall, Pelt & Carper, PC in Stafford, Virginia are glad to help you. Give us a call at 540-659-3130.