A Different Approach to Estate Planning Throughout the Midwest
Estate Planning Attorneys Devoted to Clients in Omaha, Minot, & Iowa Falls
Estate planning is at the core of everything we do. We found years ago that it is impossible for an attorney to be very good at anything if he or she tries to do everything. So we limit our practice to working with clients to create the best possible estate plans available.
To us, this means helping clients plan and structure their wealth and business affairs so that they will:
- continue their desired standard of living,
- maintain full control of their affairs,
- provide for themselves and their loved ones in the event of their disability,
- give what they have to whom they want, the way they want,
- reduce the cost to their family in professional fees and taxes.
We plan every day with clients from all walks of life, and we spend significant time each year in continuing education to stay at the cutting edge of our field. Our attorneys are members of several associations that specialize in estate and business planning, including WealthCounsel, Elder Counsel, and the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys. Our Founder and Managing Partner, Andrew Sigerson, has been a frequent instructor for attorneys and financial advisors, and has co-authored several books on estate, business, and elder law planning.
Legacy Planning™, a three step approach
We make a three-part commitment to each client. We help them create a plan based on their wishes for their family and/or business and maintain it so the entire planning process will be completed at the true lowest cost to the family: costs like legal fees, emotional stress, and taxes.
We are committed to providing our clients plans that work. To assure this, we have procedures and protocols in our company that we ask clients to follow. We know from experience that an estate plan will fail if we care more about the planning than the clients do. Estate planning must be a collaborative process.
One recent study found that approximately 80% of all living trust estate plans are destined to fail. Why? Because of the lack of support and attention through the entire planning process. For a plan to work, it must be successful through three distinct steps. Planning, maintenance, and settlement. Our firm makes uncommon commitments to provide our clients full service throughout all stages of the process, with legal fees capped to make sure you pay the true lowest cost overall for the plan. The Three Step Strategy™ – which in our experience is the best way to make sure your plan accomplishes your goals – works like this:
Step 1: Work with a counseling-oriented estate planner
It is difficult for a person to plan if they don’t know what is possible, and it is difficult to know what is possible unless an experienced planner (1) discusses in depth with you your hopes, dreams, fears and goals, then (2) applies his or her experience to offer you the tools to deal with those hopes, dreams, fears and goals.
Our firm is counseling-oriented. We take the time to explore what is important to you and will give you a thorough explanation of how your plan can directly reflect your goals. This will allow you to communicate your objectives while also learning about options that you perhaps didn’t know existed. Instead of being shuffled a “standard form” document, as is the case with many estate plans, your estate plan should be a tailored fit. Not all plans are created equal. Your estate plan should fit your unique, heart-felt objectives.
Step 2: Participate in a systematic, formal updating process
Maintain the plan as your life and the law changes.
In order to reap the benefits of your estate plan, all assets you own must line up with the personalized plan you create. This is sometimes referred to as “funding” your plan, or “retitling.” Our firm is unique in that we complete any and all necessary retitling as part of the estate plan. We then make a commitment to our clients to assist them with this process as their assets, family, and goals change.
We also provide clients the assurance that their plan will not become outdated as laws change. Each year there are typically dozens, even hundreds of changes in the law, both at the state and federal level. Many of these changes can impact existing estate plans. If you elect to participate in our LifeTime Legacy Program, we proactively work with you to update your estate plan as these legal changes occur. Updating your plan is truly the only way to ensure the plan operates as intended when disability or death strikes.
Step 3: Ensure fully disclosed and controlled settlement costs
Many people want assurances that their plan will be administered upon death at the very lowest cost to their family. When it comes time to file the tax return and divide and distribute the assets for your heirs, we are available and have pre-disclosed and capped our fees. Our firm is one of only a handful in the country that provides written disclosures and assurances that a client’s plan will not only stay in compliance with the law, but will also be administered at the lowest possible cost upon death. We put these commitments in writing, so no client has reason to worry or wonder.
- you spend serious, thoughtful time considering estate plan goals, and
- your attorney spends time with you developing and crafting it, and
- you stay in touch with the law firm over the years, and throughout that time the firm gets to know you and your family, and
- the law firm has an annually-updated list of your assets so there is no scavenger hunt during administration, and
- your plan has been updated regularly so it is at the cutting edge of the law. . . then administration, will, in all likelihood be an efficient, tidy and streamlined process.
Most people want to avoid probate and avoid taxes because of one overriding goal: to reduce all costs – money the family will lose to outsiders – and maximize the net property being delivered to their heirs. They want their plan to get their property to their children or other heirs with the lowest “cost” in professional fees and taxes. That is one reason we describe our process as “Legacy Planning™.”
We invite you to become a client of our firm. We work throughout the Midwest, with some of the best estate planning minds in the country. Please call us to schedule a consultation.