Estate Planning & Wealth Transfer Planning
Estate planning is a process designed to create a comprehensive plan in the event of one’s incapacity or passing. The term is often misunderstood and the process involves much more than simply creating a will. At Ortiz & Gosalia, every client will work personally with one of our estate planning attorneys to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns the client’s objectives and needs with their estate plan. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy or families with minor children. Estate planning is critical to maintain control over the decision-making process that will impact one’s loved ones.
A comprehensive estate plan involves the smooth transfer of assets to loved ones, minimizes the emotional burden created by the death of a loved one, navigates or avoids probate court entirely, provides guardianship nominations for minor children, plans for incapacity or disability, minimizes the impact or eliminates Federal and Washington State estate taxes, prevents unintended consequences such as unintentionally disinheriting beneficiaries, and more. An effective estate plan develops a comprehensive plan for the future, protects your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity, and allows for the person of your choosing to act on your behalf to make financial or medical decisions if you are unable to do so.
Asset protection is a critical component to any comprehensive estate plan. Elements of asset protection are incorporated within our will-based and revocable trust-based plans. These planning techniques primarily protect assets for your surviving spouse and for your children. They afford protection against creditors, third parties exercising undue influence against your surviving spouse or beneficiaries, protection from divorce in the case of your children or in the case of your surviving spouse getting remarried and other scenarios.
Everyone has a unique set of financial, health, and personal circumstances that impact their goals, and it is our objective to create an estate plan that is customized to our client’s specific needs. At Ortiz Gosalia, we understand that estate planning is about people and not just assets. Our attorneys work closely with all of our clients in order to learn what is important to them, and how we can best achieve their planning objectives.
We strive to educate and inform our clients to help them understand and navigate the different planning options so they can make an informed decision regarding what the best plan is for them and their family. Our attorneys add tremendous value by working with our clients on a personal level to accomplish their goals. We are uniquely qualified to do this based on our experience and the fact that all of our attorneys have post-doctorate degrees from the University of Washington in tax law.
Our Comprehensive Client-Centered Approach to Estate Planning and Asset Protection
At Ortiz & Gosalia, we custom design all of our estate plans to uniquely meet the planning objectives of our clients. We believe that a great plan must reflect the specific facts and circumstances of our clients and that it must accomplish the goals and objectives of our clients both in the present and for the future. Our estate planning process reflects this custom and highly individualized relationship with each client. We help our clients determine what is important to them, and to design a plan that will accomplish their goals. Our attorneys personally work with our clients throughout the estate planning process to not only ensure the client objectives are met, but also to inform our clients about how their estate plan works.
Our estate planning and design process is handled by the following steps to ensure the objectives of our clients are met.
Initial Client Consultation Meeting
Your Initial Consultation Meeting will last approximately one hour and no fee will be charged to you for this meeting. The primary objective of this consultation is for us to get to know each other, for us to learn about you and your family, discuss your objectives, address any concerns you may have and ultimately to determine if we can assist you.
Estate Plan Design Meeting
If you decide you would like to work with us to develop a comprehensive estate plan, we may schedule a plan design meeting to discuss your planning objectives in greater detail if needed. This meeting generally may take one to two hours.
At this meeting, we will gather any additional information needed from you in order for us to analyze your planning needs and to draft your estate planning documents. We will discuss the various planning options available to you in greater detail and address any questions or concerns you may have. Furthermore, we will analyze your estate for estate tax purposes and determine if you have a taxable estate.
Once our client decides what type estate plan is best for their family, our services will be provided based on a flat fee service. We will discuss the fee with you before any work is completed on your behalf. Typically, we do not require an advanced deposit, and payment is due upon the final signing of your estate plan.
Final Signing and Review Meeting
During the Final Signing and Review Meeting, all of your documents will be signed, notarized and witnessed as needed. Our attorney will discuss each document with you in detail and review how the documents will work for you to achieve your specific goals and objectives. walk you through and discuss your final planning documents in detail. Whether you decided on a will or a revocable trust-based plan, we will discuss beneficiary designations with you regarding retirement accounts, life insurance policies, investment and other types of accounts and assets. If you choose a revocable trust-based plan, we will discuss how to fund your trust and transfer assets. This meeting will last approximately two to two and one-half hours, and final payment will be due at the conclusion of this meeting.
Family Meeting to Review your Estate Plan
This meeting is offered, and highly recommended, as part of our estate planning process to discuss any questions you may have, to review your beneficiary designations and to ensure you have allocated your assets with your estate plan. We encourage you to bring your selected trustees and beneficiaries (if appropriate) to this meeting to review your plan, so that in the event of any incapacity or passing, your trustees and beneficiaries will understand what they will need to do.
Furthermore, at this meeting we will discuss the critical component of your estate plan which involves the alignment of your assets to ensure your estate planning goals have been met. During this meeting, we will not discuss values of your estate; rather, we will discuss your estate plan from a global perspective to ensure your trustees and loved ones understand their specific roles. The alignment of your assets involves updating beneficiary designations and transferring assets to your revocable living trust-based plan (if applicable) to ensure your goals have been met and to avoid the probate process (going to court to administer your estate).
Ideally, this meeting should occur within ninety-days of your Final Signing and Review Meeting, but you should begin the process of aligning your assets to match your estate planning goals as soon as the Final Signing and Review Meeting is complete. This meeting generally will last approximately sixty to ninety minutes.