When I got pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to set up some type of legal protection like a will or trust so that if anything happened to my husband and I, our daughter would be taken care of. But knowing these kinds of things exist in the general sense, and actually executing them are two totally separate things. I spent the first few months of my daughter’s life periodically mentioning to my husband that ‘we should really figure out how to get all that stuff set up’, but to be honest, I felt totally overwhelmed by the idea and had no clue where to start.
Then a friend invited me to tag along to an informational brunch hosted by a local estate planning law firm specializing in helping families with children put together their estate plans. Perfect, I thought, a chance to learn what exactly we should be setting up, and if nothing else, a tasty brunch with friends.
David Feakes, the owner and founder of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm in Acton, gave a presentation that explained in plain English, what a proper estate plan should consist of and highlighted some specific areas that many typical estate planning firms, who are less child centric, often miss.
David spoke from the perspective of a parent himself, really hitting on WHY the details matter and the specific scenarios where they would be important.
It had occurred to me that we needed to name someone to be our daughter’s permanent caregiver, but what happens if that person lives out of state or happens to be on vacation when something happens to us? Where would our daughter go until they could get to her? Does a babysitter know who to contact in an emergency if we are unreachable? David spoke about so many crucial details that had truly never crossed my mind.
So my husband and I decided to make an appointment to get started setting up our estate plan. At this meeting, we learned about the different ways an estate plan could be set up, and why we might do it one way versus another. I’m a visual learner, so I really appreciated the diagrams we were provided which showed how our assets would flow depending on how we set up the plan.
We also began the important discussion of the people who would be named in our estate plan to care for our daughter should the need arise.
We talked through all of the possible scenarios and thought about who would be an appropriate person for each. We went home with a list of things to think about a bit more before making our final decisions.
I got into the car after that meeting and breathed a huge sigh of relief; I hadn’t fully appreciated how vulnerable I would feel, discussing all the scenarios in which an estate plan would come into play. Everyone we worked with throughout the entire process really seemed to understand not just the legal details of building an estate plan, but the human piece, which really makes all the difference when you are writing up the plan for what happens if you aren’t around.
We made our final decisions about who would take on what roles in our estate plan, and made phone calls to those people to formally ask them to be a part of our plan. Once that was done, we returned to The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm to sign all the documents and it truly could not have felt simpler. They had everything laid out for us, explained each piece as we went through it, confirming what we had discussed before we signed each piece.
The level of detail and care put into building our estate plan really put all my worries to rest knowing that if these plans ever do become needed, every last detail is in there.
One piece of having an estate plan that I was worried about was keeping it current as our family grows and changes. Fortunately, The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm will automatically reach out to us every 3 years to remind us to schedule a complimentary meeting to review of our plan and they’ll help us make any needed changes, so I don’t have to worry about adding that to my endless to do list.
Creating an estate plan for your family can feel like a daunting task, but it really is one of the best ways to protect your loved ones and if you work with someone as knowledgeable and caring as the team at The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, you’ll be shocked at how quickly and easily it can all come together.