Estate Planning Services
At Pfarr & Rethore PC, we assist our clients create “Life Plans” for themselves and their families. In our unique Estate Planning process, we ask a lot of questions not normally asked, exploring the things that are important to you for you to maintain control of your life, and express your hopes and future vision for your family while protecting your heirs against the possibility of a predator or creditor frustrating your goals.
Despite popular belief, it is not dealing with one's mortality that causes people to postpone estate planning. Instead, the greatest obstacle is the widespread belief that estate planning means "giving up control". Ironically, failure to plan produces the greatest "loss of control".
Estate planning is about protecting the people you care about in the event of your disability or demise. It takes different forms ranging from having the proper legal documents in place so someone else can step into your shoes to pay bills, helping with medical decisions, to making sure your assets get to the people you designate. Of course, having your financial affairs in order are a key element, but estate planning is not just about wealth transfer. It is about providing for your disability, the guardianship of minor children, predator protection of a surviving spouse, planning for a special need child, and asset and divorce protecting your beneficiaries. Most people want to ensure they have a voice about guardianship matters for themselves and their children, protecting themselves should they become mentally disabled, and how to give their children and grandchildren divorce and creditor protection. They want to ensure that if one spouse later remarries, their children are not disinherited.
The modern family is more complex than ever before and changes in the law and family dynamics make estate planning a movie and not a snap shot in time. The estate plan that is set up and forgotten is a plan that likely won’t work when it is time to use it. Simply, the non-tax reasons to estate plan far outweigh the tax reasons. We estate plan to take care of the people we care about.
Traditional estate planning law firms focus on establishing a “Death Plan” for clients that hopes to avoid probate, save estate taxes, and transfer assets to heirs on a death. We believe that this limited approach to estate planning is no longer viable in today’s complex world.
If you have already done estate planning, how much input did you have in the creation of your plan? Were you presented with alternatives or was the planning “an everybody does it this way plan”? Did you have an opportunity to communicate your values, concerns or hopes? Was the plan developed the same one for every client of that office? Did the law firm talk about what happens when there is a stroke, disability or death? Will the law firm be available to support your spouse, significant other, children, and loved ones when the need arises? Was your wisdom process – what you think is important, what you have learned and important events of your life – part of the planning? At Pfarr & Rethore, we think this is essential and integral to any estate plan. To that end, we ask questions most advisors never ask. We want to know your story – what you envision as your future moving forward; what are you excited about; what keeps you up at night. Estate planning is not simply about passing on material wealth, it is about passing on the wealth of your life and your wisdom that will add so richly to the fabric of the lives who follow after you. At Pfarr & Rethore, we build and maintain Life Plans, because they do so much more.