How much does a simple will cost?

The most common question that I get and that I see online in different forums where people can ask legal questions is, “How much does a simple will cost?” The answer to that is that there is no such thing as a simple will, at least at my office. We create plans that involve a variety of documents based on the client’s needs, and we plan for incapacity as well as death. Another way I could answer that question is to ask: “How much does a conservatorship cost?” or “How much does a probate costs?” or “What is the cost of doing things the wrong way?” These are all risks that you take by approaching estate planning with the attitude that your situation is simple and that your estate plan should be cheap. So if you ask yourself what the costs are of a conservatorship, probate, or worse, screwing up your plan, you’ll see that a “simple will” actually costs thousands of dollars, and maybe even your family’s well being and your own legacy.

How to Get Your Aging Parents to Talk about and Do Their Estate Planning

As a Gen X kid with Baby Boomer parents, I have found that our generations have very different ideas when it comes to talking about death and money. Boomers often seem averse to discussing these matters, for many reasons. Sometimes they think it’s crass for their kids to be asking them about what they’re “getting.” Sometimes they feel shame about discussing money and death. Sometimes they were just raised to believe that discussion about money and death (like religion and politics) is impolite. Whatever the reasons your aging parents might have for being tough to crack when it comes to these discussions, I have some tips on how to get them to talk and do their estate planning.

Back to School: Emergency Contacts

It’s Back-to-School time, which means that you have to fill out those “emergency contact” forms again. It’s important that you fill them out properly, naming emergency contacts who have the legal authority to care for your kids and who know what the plan is and who they should contact if something happens to you, the parent. I thought I’d put together some tips for parents who are filling out these forms.

The 3 Legal Documents Your College Kid Needs

When your adult (18+) child is going off to college, there are three important legal documents that are important for her/him/them to execute before leaving. (Actually, anyone over age 18 needs these documents.) These documents will allow parents to help their child in the even their child has an emergency or iso other wise incapacitated and unable to manage financial and health decisions. It happens more frequently than you would think. College kids experience mental health issues, get in accidents, and get serious illnesses like meningitis. Having the correct documentation to be able to get information and act on it in vital.

How to name guardians for your kids

A huge percentage of parents who haven’t done their estate planning yet are stuck on who to name as guardians for their kids. Here in Portland, Oregon, so many people have moved here from other places, and so they might not have any family in town, and they might have moved here to get away from a family or cultural dynamic that they don’t want their kids to be a part of. This makes choosing guardians difficult.