Life Planning is simply the assessment of your current life situation and preparation of a plan to deal with unexpected catastrophic circumstances including death and serious illness or injury. There are many simple inexpensive tools that can be put in place to deal with the unexpected catastrophes in life. These tools include wills, trusts, general powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney (often called living wills).
Many people treat consulting an attorney the same way they approach seeing a doctor or a dentist. They wait until they are sick or their tooth hurts before they make an appointment. By then the damage is done. Remedial work to fix a problem is almost always more expensive than preventive care. Medical insurance companies have recognized the value of preventive care and now often pay for charges related to general physicals, well care checkups and dental cleanings.
Life Planning Review:
Cost $75.00: The Life Planning Review is a low cost legal service that allows you to discuss your current life situation with me so we can determine what services you need. Prior to our meeting I will provide you with an information form for you to fill out. After I receive your information we will schedule a meeting to discuss the preparation of your Life Plan. We can meet at my office, via web-meeting or by telephone. You choose the meeting method that works best for you. If you choose to make a will, obtain powers of attorney or establish a trust your original $75.00 Life Planning fee will be deducted from the regular cost of the services.
Individual Basic Will (with simple trust):
Couples Basic Wills with simple trusts (works for most married couples with children):
Individual General Power of Attorney:
Cost $85.00. A power of attorney designates and allows another person to act on your behalf during your lifetime. It is often mistakenly believed that an Agent holding your power of attorney can take action to administer your estate after death. This is not true. The authority to act created by a power of attorney ends when you die.
A power of attorney can be very broad, allowing your agent to do anything that you could do, or it can be very specific, allowing the agent to only do very specific acts on your behalf.
Medical Power of Attorney (often called Living Wills or Advanced Directives):
Individual Package (reduced fees for multiple documents):
Wills and trusts do not have to be expensive or complicated to accomplish the goals that you establish in your Life Plan.
Like Planning is the preventive service that I can provide to prepare you for the unexpected. Preventive Life Planning is more effective and less expensive than remedial legal services provided an emergency basis.
Many people, especially young people, never consider Life Planning. Many people mistakenly believe that the Life Planning tools are expensive, time-consuming and unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
ELawPros.com makes Life Planning convenient and affordable. By using the Life Planning tools provided through eLawPros.com you can implement an affordable Life Plan from your home using my innovative modern website.
Who needs a will? You need a will if:
- You own a house or other real property.
- You are married and have children.
- You are in a committed relationship with a significant other.
- You have minor children that do not live in your home.
- You or your wife has children from a prior relationship.
A will directs what will be done with your property when you die. It allows you to choose who will be the guardian of your minor children. It allows you to designate who will be responsible for taking care of your affairs.
If you do not have a will the law determines who receives your property. A one-size-fits-all approach to property distribution.
Trusts are legal documents that can be used to protect property and assets by establishing a person to take care of the property, the Trustee, for the benefit of others, the Beneficiaries. A will designates the person who you want to care for your minor children, the Guardian, and can establish a trust to manage your property and assets for the benefit of your children until they are grown.
Do You Need A Will? Take The “Will Quiz”
Do you know what happens to your property if you die without a will? (The law calls this dying intestate.)
Do you know what a will is?
Is making a will is expensive?
Is it hard to make a will?
Does your life include a significant other? Significant others include any person that you live with or is a significant part of your life that is not your spouse or your child.
How much of your property will your significant other receive if you die without a will?
Intestate Succession: What happens if you do not have a will?
If you have not made your wishes known by making a will your property is divided according to a plan written by lawmakers. The plan is called “intestate succession.” Here is what happens to your property if you have not made a will:
If you are married: Your spouse receives all of your property IF your parents have died before you AND all of descendants ( your children and your children’s children) are also your spouses descendants, UNLESS your spouse has children that are not your children, then your spouse gets the first $250,000 and 50% of any additional property. BUT, if one of your parents is still alive and you do not have children, then your spouse gets the first $300,000 and 75% of any additional property. HOWEVER, if you have children that are not your spouse’s children, then your spouse gets the first $150,000 and 50% of any additional property.
If you are not married your property goes to your children per stirpes. (OK, I know this is a legal jargon that no normal person uses. It is a shorthand term to explain a complicated circumstance that lawyers learn in law school. It means that when you die your property is divided into equal shares based on the number of children you had, if your child has died before you then that child’s share is given to your child’s children if there are any. If you child died before having any children then that child’s share is divided equally by your other children.) If you do not have any children your property goes to your parents if they are alive. If you parents have died then your property goes to your parents other children. There is more, but its too complicated to explain here. See for yourself at N.D.C.C. § 30.1-04-03.
Confusing? Yes it is. Your family will often need to hire an attorney to sort out who gets what. You can avoid all of the confusion and expense by making your own Basic Will giving you the peace of mind that your property is going where you want it to go.
30.1-04-02. (2-102) Share of spouse.
The intestate share of a decedent’s surviving spouse is:
1. The entire intestate estate if:
a. No descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent; or
b. All of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent.
2. The first three hundred thousand dollars, plus three-fourths of any balance of the intestate estate, if no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent, but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent.
3. The first two hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate, if all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has one or more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent.
4. The first one hundred fifty thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate, if one or more of the decedent’s surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse.
30.1-04-03. (2-103) Share of heirs other than surviving spouse. Any part of the intestate estate not passing to a decedent’s surviving spouse under section 30.1-04-02, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes in the following order to the individuals who survive the decedent:
1. To the decedent’s descendants by representation.
2. If there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent’s parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving parent.
3. If there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the descendants of the decedent’s parents or either of them by representation.
4. If there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, but the decedent is survived on both the paternal and maternal sides by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents:
a. Half to the decedent’s paternal grandparents equally if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the descendants of the decedent’s paternal grandparents or either of them if both are deceased, the descendants taking by representation; and
b. Half to the decedent’s maternal grandparents equally if both survive, or to the surviving maternal grandparent, or to the descendants of the decedent’s maternal grandparents or either of them if both are deceased, the descendants taking by representation.
5. If there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents on the paternal but not the maternal side, or on the maternal but not the paternal side, to the decedent’s relatives on the side with one or more surviving members in the manner as described in subsection 4.
6. If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, descendant of a parent, grandparent, or descendant of a grandparent, but the intestate decedent has one deceased spouse who has one or more descendants who survive the decedent, to those descendants by representation or has more than one deceased spouse who has one or more descendants who survive the decedent, the estate is divided into as many equal shares as there are dec