There are few things as intimidating as the task of completing your estate plan. The best time to plan for your incapacity or passing, though, is while you’re still healthy. With a little time, effort, and guidance from a trusted estate planning professional, you can develop a plan to protect your family and get peace-of-mind. Failing to complete a proper estate plan can place the security of your family and assets in jeopardy.
What is Your Estate?
Your estate is comprised of everything you own: your home (including all the stuff inside your home), bank accounts, 401k, business holdings, investment accounts, etc. In addition to what you own, your estate must also consider your minor children and pets.
It’s important to be thoughtful and strategic about how, when, and to whom your estate is divided and distributed. Inaction can lead to the government taking over control of the distribution of your assets after you pass. This is known as intestacy and generally involves probate court. Because this intestacy process leaves your loved ones with few options and places your legacy in the hands of the government.
The Benefits of an Estate Plan
A well-prepared estate plan can ensure the safety and security of your family long after you have passed. A financial planner can help you make important financial decisions about your estate while you’re still in good health and help ensure your trust is funded and safeguarded for the next generation.
If your trust is unfunded (meaning you haven’t put any money or assets in it), your loved ones could face a public, costly, and time-consuming probate experience upon your death. Don’t worry, funding the trust sounds complicated but working with a professional like us makes it fairly easy.
The Trouble with Using a Will Only
Many presume that a will is more than enough to convey their wishes for their estate after they pass. Unfortunately, with only a will, the plans for your assets is only effective upon your death and requires a probate court proceeding to work. If you become incapacitated, your assets will be under the control of a court-appointed conservator.
Even when your distribution plans for your assets are honored, it is easy for loved ones to see an inheritance as a windfall. Too often, a person’s legacy is frittered away by poor decisions made by grieving family members. That’s why most inheritances are gone within a mere five years of receipt. A failure to consider the long-term implications of their financial choices often results in one’s inheritance disappearing practically overnight. With proper estate planning, you can ensure your beneficiaries are taken care of and that the assets are distributed in a way that will be the most beneficial to all involved.
Our Estate Planning Packages & Costs
Basic Trust Package
- Revocable Living Trust
- Pour-Over Will
- Advance Health Care Directive
- Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Authorization
- Kids Safeguard System®
- Deed transfer of a California property
- *This is our most common package for families*
- Advance Healthcare Directive
- Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Authorization
All of our estate planning packages are done on a flat-fee basis, so clients know how much the plans cost before getting started.
We accept payment by check, cash, and credit card (mastercard and visa).
We also have payment plan options available for clients.
Our Estate Planning Process
We understand that Estate Planning is generally an item on your To-Do list that keeps getting pushed towards the bottom of your list. Let’s be honest, it’s not glamourous to do and it requires you to think about things that you just don’t want to think about. But, it is so important to ensure that your family is planned for and protected.
Our process is designed to make it as easy as possible for busy families to complete their Estate Plan in 4 to 6 weeks. We have flexible schedules to allow working families to meet in the evenings or even on Saturdays. We use the latest technology available to ensure the families can access information and messaging 24×7.
Stage 1: Family Planning Assessment
Our first meeting is an opportunity for us to get to know each other to determine if we are a good fit to work together. You will need to complete a online worksheet at least 2 days prior to our meeting in preparation for it. The Family Planning Assessment uses the worksheet you complete to give us an idea of what your currently family situation and finances are. We use that information to share with you during the meeting what would happen to your family and estate if something happened to you today. If you don’t like what would happen then we design a plan for you right then and there. All Estate Plans are done on a flat-fee basis so you don’t have to worry about hidden fees coming up throughout the process.
Stage 2: Pre-Signing
During this stage, your entire Estate Plan is drafted within 2 weeks of signing our legal fee agreement and paying your invoice. An Estate Planning summary is sent to you for your review and we send you any follow-up questions we have. During this stage of the process we use our online secure client portal to share documents and communicate with each other. After you review the summary, you then send back any questions or revisions using our secure client portal. We then finalize all your Estate Planning documents for your Signing Ceremony.
Stage 3: Signing Ceremony
At this stage, we have an in-person meeting where we go through your binder with all of your finalized Estate Planning documents. Your documents will be signed, some notarized and others witnessed. Our hope is at the end of the meeting, you will feel a tremendous weight lifted from you and a feeling of accomplishment for protecting your family. If you are a virtual client, this signing ceremony looks slightly different but mostly the same.
Stage 4: Post-Signing
Our relationship doesn’t end at the signing ceremony. We will be in contact with you every 3 years to review your Estate Plan as part of our service. But that’s not all, as a client you will receive communications from us on an ongoing basis updating you as needed and providing you tips and education on family planning. We are always here for you if you have any questions.
Planning Framework for Parents
The Exceptional Client Experience
At Hermance Law, we strive to provide our clients with the absolute best experience possible. Our offices are child-friendly to accommodate every member of your family. Our team is dedicated to assisting you every step of the planning process. We want you to know that here you aren’t just clients, you are a part of the Hermance Law family.
We are excited to offer a complimentary service for our Estate Planning clients.
Everplans—a simple, digital tool that guides you step-by-step through legal, financial, healthcare and personal decisions. This provides you with a complete end-of-life plan and also a convenient central vault to save all your relevant information thereby ensuring your loved ones aren’t left with hassles. This keeps it simple for you to easily find relevant records & information as you need it!
Here is a quick video for you to see what Everplans has to offer:
We are here to help you
Do you need assistance getting your estate plan completed? We can help you get a plan in place and make sure your wishes are legally documented and that your family is protected, giving you peace-of-mind. To get started, call our office at (805) 518-9633, click below to schedule an appointment, or complete the form below and one of our team members will be in contact with you. We will help you determine what type of estate plan makes sense for your situation. You do not have to make these decisions alone.
Please complete this form and one of our team members will get in touch with you
4476 Market Street, Suite 602
Ventura, CA 93003
5655 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 521-18
Westlake Village, CA 91362
28338 Constellation Road, Suite 900
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Serving clients throughout California Virtually with Zoom
Disclaimer: The attorneys at Hermance Law, A Professional Corporation, are licensed to practice law solely in California and meets with clients by appointment only. Nothing in this website should be taken as engaging, or offering to engage, in any activities in any jurisdiction where those activities would constitute the unauthorized practice of law or would otherwise be unlawful or improper. The materials appearing on this Website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. You should not take action based upon this information without consulting legal counsel. This site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon any single source of information, including advertising on this Website.