Estate Planning

Protect what matters most

What is an estate plan?

Organization of your assets

Everything you own is considered your estate. An estate plan enables you to decide where and how your possessions will be distributed upon your incapacity or death.

Preparation for the future

An estate plan enables you to take control and make plans for your loved ones. It includes personalized instructions that outline where and how things are taken care of once you pass, and it establishes the authority for your instructions to be carried out.

Ongoing process

Making an estate plan is a custom and ongoing process. It is tailored to you and the changing circumstances of your life. Keeping up to date with your plan ensures legal and financial security.

What is an estate plan?

Organization of your assets

Everything you own is considered your estate. An estate plan enables you to decide where and how your possessions will be distributed upon your incapacity or death.

Preparation for the future

An estate plan enables you to take control and make plans for your loved ones. It includes personalized instructions that outline where and how things are taken care of once you pass, and it establishes the authority for your instructions to be carried out.

Ongoing process

Making an estate plan is a custom and ongoing process. It is tailored to you and the changing circumstances of your life. Keeping up to date with your plan ensures legal and financial security.

What can I expect from an estate plan?

Rather than handing critical decisions over to the courts, an estate plan ensures that you have a voice in where your children and belongings end up and how they will be taken care of once you pass.

We don’t produce “one-size-fits-all” estate plans. A highly effective estate plan is not accomplished by simply filling in the blanks of a basic form. Through face-to-face meetings and ongoing communication, we learn of our clients’ unique life circumstances, advise them on relevant laws, and empower them with ideas for planning for the future. The process is tailored to the individual needs of each client.  Only in this way, are we able develop effective estate plans that will best meet our clients’ needs and accomplish their desires for the future.

An effective estate plan should grow with you throughout your life. When circumstances in life change, you need to consider how those changes will affect your estate plan. Even after we deliver a complete estate plan to our clients, Gibby Law Firm will continue to periodically meet with many of our clients to review and adjust their estate plan to adjust for their life changes. 

What can I expect from an estate plan?

Rather than handing critical decisions over to the courts, an estate plan ensures that you have a voice in where your children and belongings end up and how they will be taken care of once you pass.

We don’t produce “one-size-fits-all” estate plans. A highly effective estate plan is not accomplished by simply filling in the blanks of a basic form. Through face-to-face meetings and ongoing communication, we learn of our clients’ unique life circumstances, advise them on relevant laws, and empower them with ideas for planning for the future. The process is tailored to the individual needs of each client.  Only in this way, are we able develop effective estate plans that will best meet our clients’ needs and accomplish their desires for the future.

An effective estate plan should grow with you throughout your life. When circumstances in life change, you need to consider how those changes will affect your estate plan. Even after we deliver a complete estate plan to our clients, Gibby Law Firm will continue to periodically meet with many of our clients to review and adjust their estate plan to adjust for their life changes. 

Our Process

Our Process

Frequently Asked Questions

Is estate planning only for wealthy people?

The transfer of assets after a person dies is only one part of a complete estate plan. Estate planning can provide for guardianship and care of children, care for pets, issues relating to life support, and the ability for someone to handle financial issues and health decisions for someone else who is unexpectedly incapacitated. In addition, anyone with assets could benefit from an estate plan to avoid probate after they die. Probate is a long, expensive process that can deplete an estate of its assets and delay the transfer of property to a person’s heirs.  Probate also makes the affairs of your estate a matter of public record. Therefore, anyone with children, pets, a business, or who would like their estate to avoid probate after he or she dies should consider an estate plan.

Is estate planning only for older people?

Because no one knows when they will die or become incapacitated, estate planning could benefit almost everyone who has a family and/or assets they want to protect. A well-prepared estate plan can protect against unexpected death or legal incapacity. It can provide for the care of young children and pets and continuity of business. Estate planning is not just a one-time event, it should be maintained  throughout your life. Therefore, estate planning is not only for older people. It is equally, if not even more, important for young families that have children who need protection and care.

How much does an estate plan cost?

Perhaps the better question would be, “How much will it cost to not have an estate plan?” An estate plan can help avoid the uncertainty and high cost of probate. Without getting into actual numbers, which could be different in your situation, it is often more expensive to your estate in the long run to not have an estate plan than it is to have one. Because there is not a “one-size-fits-all” estate plan, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” price. Once we meet with you and review your situation, we can estimate the cost for a complete plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. We typically charge flat fees for estate plans, so you will know how much your estate plan will cost before you hire us to do the work.

When should I update my estate plan?

Estate planning is not a one-time event. It is important that once you have a plan in place you maintain it. People’s lives often change unexpectedly, so it is a good idea to meet with an attorney at least once every year to review your plan and evaluate if any changes need to be made.

What documents are included in a typical estate plan?

Because everybody’s family, property, and situation in life is different, it is difficult to define what is a “typical” estate plan. However, many estate plans include a Revocable Living Trust, Memorandum (or Certification) of Trust, Pour Over Will, Living Will (or Advance Directive), Medical Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney; HIPPA Authorization, and transfer documents to help fund the trust.

What if I cannot afford a complete estate plan at this time?

In the long run, the cost of having an estate plan may be far less than not having one. A well-prepared plan should be a high priority for most families. The benefit can far outweighs the cost. However, we do offer financing for qualified clients that wish to put a plan in place as soon as possible without having to pay the full amount up front.

Is there only one kind of trust?

There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” trust. There are many different types of trusts with each serving a different purpose according to a person’s specific needs. Some trusts only deal with the immediate distribution of property after a person dies. Others are meant to not only last throughout a person’s life but also last many years into his or her heirs’ lives. These include trusts that provide for expenses such as college or weddings for children or grandchildren. Others provide for protection of assets from, creditors, or lawsuits. Some are set up to protect against taxes while the person who made the trust can enjoy the income generated from the trust during his or her lifetime. This is why it is important to meet with a knowledgeable attorney who can customize your trust to fit your situation in life and who can meet with you periodically to make sure your trust is properly maintained.

Would a will or trust purchased online be sufficient for my needs?

Without knowing of your family and friends, property, pets, business dealings, health concerns, insurance policies, and life ambitions, it is impossible to know if a “cookie cutter” form that is generated online would meet your needs. Our estate plans are the result of face-to-face meetings and, often times, frequent communication with our clients. We review relevant documents and sometimes even meet or communicate directly with our clients’ accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors, and other professional service providers. The customized estate plans we develop are the result of strategic planning based on all your information. This level of personal service and planning simply cannot be achieved by simply downloading a document and attempting to properly sign and fund a “cookie cutter” plan on your own. If you truly want the peace of mind that comes with having a properly prepared estate plan in place, we recommend against executing an on-line sourced will or trust.