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Estate Planning

How We Work for You

Darlene Campbell

We all experience moments of confusion and uncertainty about the future. My mission is to offer you clarity, direction and heartfelt advice in those critical moments.

As we work together, I create comfort and safety by imagining every possible contingency that you and your loved ones could face if you become incompetent or pass away. You receive a tailored estate plan that reflects your individuality and unique circumstances while sidestepping seemingly unforeseeable conflicts.

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David K. Spencer

When it comes to taxes, even the most financially sophisticated of us wonder if we have made the best decisions. For our estate planning clients, my mission is to pinpoint the issues that will have the biggest impact on your future and make the biggest difference to those you leave behind.

I take the strategies and techniques that I have developed for large multinationals and investment banks and put them to work for you. My down-to-earth explanations help you to understand the pros and cons of each scenario, enabling you to make informed decisions that are incorporated into your comprehensive estate plan.

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A Few of Our Tools

Essential Documents

Everyone should have a will, power of attorney and health care proxy with HIPAA release.
Your will acts as a set of instructions for your personal representative (aka executor) to follow. It helps your representative avoid drama and confusion. A power of attorney lets you put an agent in charge of your property if you become incapacitated. It helps avoid the stress and expense of going to court to appoint a guardian. A health care proxy lets you put an agent in charge of your health care decisions if you cannot make them. It helps doctors and nurses know who to turn to.
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Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust (“RLT”) is a will substitute with many benefits.
It helps to avoid probate, offers privacy, discourages challenges in court and makes it easier to manage your estate. We will walk through your specific situation to see if it is the right fit for you.
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Medicaid Asset Protection

Some day you may need Medicaid to help pay for long term care.
But if you have too many assets, you will not qualify for assistance. One way to qualify is to give up complete control of your assets by transferring them to a Medicaid asset protection trust that allows you to continue to receive certain benefits from your assets. This is a tool for proactive planners because any assets contributed to your trust less than five years before needing Medicaid will count against your eligibility.
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Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust (“SNT”) gives peace of mind to parents whose child will not be able to live independently as an adult.
The SNT allows their child to qualify for government benefits while getting extra help from the funds in a trust. It also provides a way for loving relatives to donate to the child’s support without disqualifying the child from government assistance. Parents can arrange for the trust to be funded by a life insurance policy after the second parent passes away.
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Pet Trusts

We’ve all seen sad pets whose owners have passed away or become too ill to care for them.
That’s why we insist that clients who own pets include a pet trust in their essential documents. We do this at no extra charge. The only "expense" is the time and thought of choosing a trustee and determining how your pet will be provided for.
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Protect loved ones, preserve wealth, reduce taxes and more.

How We Work for You

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Darlene Campbell

We all experience moments of confusion and uncertainty about the future. My mission is to offer you clarity, direction and heartfelt advice in those critical moments.

As we work together, I create comfort and safety by imagining every possible contingency that you and your loved ones could face if you become incompetent or pass away. You receive a tailored estate plan that reflects your individuality and unique circumstances while sidestepping seemingly unforeseeable conflicts.

See bio

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David K. Spencer

When it comes to taxes, even the most financially sophisticated of us wonder if we have made the best decisions. For our estate planning clients, my mission is to pinpoint the issues that will have the biggest impact on your future and make the biggest difference to those you leave behind.

I take the strategies and techniques that I have developed for large multinationals and investment banks and put them to work for you. My down-to-earth explanations help you to understand the pros and cons of each scenario, enabling you to make informed decisions that are incorporated into your comprehensive estate plan.

See bio

3 Steps to Peace of Mind

Discover

The discovery phase begins as soon as you make your first appointment. You’ll share a snapshot of your priorities and assets through our secure online portal, and we’ll analyze your answers before we even meet. Once we’re in the same room (either by zoom or in person), we’ll ask to hear about your goals and the people you care about. You’ll learn about your estate planning options, and we’ll answer every question you have for us. The goal is to discover if we’re the right fit for each other and for you to leave our meeting more informed and in control of your future than before you arrived.

Begin Step One.

 

Design

You’ll choose the direction you want to take, and we’ll create the documents to get you there. We help you identify the personal representatives, trustees and agents who are most likely to follow your wishes, and we ask questions to make certain that your beneficiary choices align with your legacy. We’ll walk you through scenarios that are specific to your situation. After you review our drafts, we’ll discuss any changes you’d like us to make. We’ll repeat this process until you’re satisfied that the final version truly reflects your highest goals.

 

Sign

It’s time to make it official. We’ll meet in person with two witnesses and a notary and follow the stringent legal formalities that ensure your plan is honored when it matters. Afterwards, we’ll organize your signed documents and deliver them to you. You can move forward with confidence that you have covered the issues that matter to you. And if new issues arise, we’ll be here to help you address them.

Protect loved ones, preserve wealth, reduce taxes and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

An attorney who listens without interrupting and makes sure you fully understand your options before making any decisions! I wouldn’t be doing my job as an attorney otherwise. It’s very important to me that you feel heard and have your questions answered. We’ll also review our process, flat fees, and overall client experience so you know exactly what you are getting and what the investment will be.

It depends! Estate planning is not one size fits all, so it’s hard for us to give you a quote without knowing more about you. Even if you believe your situation is relatively simple, there are likely nuances you are not considering. We discuss our fees and process at length in the Initial Planning Session after we have counseled you on all your options. We do not discuss our fees outside the Initial Planning Session.

We understand that cost is an important factor in choosing an attorney and that estate planning is a significant investment for many. It is our goal to be as transparent and fair as possible. For that reason, we offer flat fees as opposed to billing by the hour, so you know exactly what your investment will be. We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with our services, we will make it right, or refund your money.

Finally, we will only recommend planning with us if the amount you would save by doing an estate plan is greater than our fee.

Our process is designed to have your estate planning documents signed within 6-8 weeks of your Initial Planning Session. It depends in part on your schedule and how long it takes for you to review your draft documents.

We take on a limited number of clients each month so we can offer a high level of service to each. We work with people who value our advice and are seeking a long-term working relationship. If you are looking for the cheapest attorney you can find, do not want to devote time to learning about and understanding your options, or do not feel comfortable completing the Planning Profile before our session, we are not the right law firm for you, and would be happy to refer you to a lawyer who may be a better fit.

A living trust helps avoid the time, expense, and publicity of probate. Despite these benefits, it is not for everyone, and I present other planning tools that may be right for you during the Initial Planning Session. 

“Probate” comes from the Latin for “a thing proved”. It is the process of proving to the court that your last will and testament is authentic.  Once the court is satisfied that your will is real, it then supervises the person you have chosen to follow your will’s instructions until everything is given away to the right people. This is what is meant by “going through probate”.  If you die without a will, you are “intestate”, and the procedure for distributing everything is called an “administration”. There is no will to prove or follow, so the court supervises your administrator, who must distribute everything according to the state’s laws of intestacy.

Sometimes a will is all you need, but it’s rare that any will is “simple”. Everyone has unique preferences that come to light during the planning process, and we work to accommodate them.

No. This is the biggest myth out there. Estate planning is in no way related to how much money you have, whether you are a married, or whether or not you are a parent.

Estate planning includes directions if you are incapacitated by appointing people to make health care decisions and manage your property. That matters to all of us regardless of wealth status.

Estate planning also puts legal documents in place that ensure your assets will go to the people you want, the way you want, when you are gone. It’s about making this as easy as possible on your loved ones during an otherwise difficult time. And we all care about that, no matter how much (or little) money we have.

A power of attorney lets you appoint someone to manage your property in the event of your incapacity. You will name someone you trust implicitly as your “agent”. They will step into your shoes and pay your bills, file your taxes, manage your business, etc. We include a power of attorney in every estate plan we create.

A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your medical decisions should you be unable to do so. A living will (not to be confused with a living trust or last will and testament) allows you to make certain medical decisions regarding end-of-life decisions, ahead of time. We include a health care proxy and living will in every estate plan we create.

Yes! I am happy to have a quick, complimentary call before your schedule your Initial Planning Session. We do not discuss fees outside the Initial Planning Session, but I am happy to answer any basic questions you may have.