A Different Breed of Estate Planning

At Varela Law, we provide a different breed of estate planning. We take great pride in our comprehensive approach and in helping you protect your future, your family, and your legacy. Let us guide you through the Estate Planning process, and create a plan uniquely tailored to your specific needs.

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+ Estate Planning

Many people believe that estate planning is only for those people who are wealthy, those who have complex schemes in mind for passing their money to their heirs, or for people who are very ill and contemplating their death. This is simply not true. Estate planning is for every husband, wife, mother, father, grandparent, business owner, or anyone who has someone they care about, are concerned about providing responsibly for their own well-being and for the well-being of those their children or family, or for anyone who seeks to make a difference in the lives of others after they’re gone.

Estate planning is not just about obtaining a set of documents.It is about making a series of informed decisions and taking a series of thoughtful actions, all of which are designed to ensure that in the event of your death or disability, things will transition in the way you would have hoped, with the least disruption possible and with minimal or no intrusion by the court.

If you have children who depend on you for their care, you should put into place a Children's Emergency Plan to name both short- and long-term guardians, and you should designate a “financial parent” who can oversee the management of any assets left behind until your children are mature enough to take over this important role.

If you have assets, estate planning involves looking at how best to preserve and protect those assetsfrom estate taxes, future creditors and lawsuits, and even potential subsequent divorces of your children. If you have particular wishes or religious concerns about health-care related issues including end-of-life care or organ donation, estate planning can and should include a way to make sure those wishes are both known and respected.

Comprehensive estate planning should always include an easy transition for the management of your assets in the event of your disability or death so that your estate can continue to run and function without the need for court interference.

At Varela Law, we take pride in serving as your trusted estate planning advisor. We will guide you through the choices you need to make to create an estate plan uniquely tailored to your specific needs. And, we will make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your plan will actually work when the time comes. For example, we make sure that if we’ve set up a revocable living trust, it is properly funded and that you have coordinated any beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies with the rest of your estate plan.

Your comprehensive estate plan may include the following legal instruments:
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Wills
  • Children's Emergency Plan
  • Healthcare Powers of Attorney
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Health Care Directives ("Living Wills")
  • HIPAA Releases



+ Children's Emergency Plan

If you are a parent of minor children, it is imperative that your estate plan include documents and a process that will ensure your kids will be cared for by the people you want, in the way you want, in case something happens to you.

At Varela Law, we include a comprehensive Children's Emergency Plan as part of all of our estate planning for parents with minor children or dependents with special needs. A Children's Emergency Plan is a set of instructions, legal documents and even an emergency card for your wallet, all of which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care.

If you are in an accident, your Children's Emergency Plan will make sure your children are never placed either with Child Protective Services or in the care of anyone you wouldn’t want—even temporarily—because the police will have clear instructions from you and easy access to legal documentation they can rely on for the immediate care of your children. And your Children's Emergency Plan will ensure your children will be raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by a judge who doesn’t know you.

+ Special Needs Planning

If you have a dependent with special needs, including a child, sibling, or parent, you need to incorporate special needs planning into your estate planbecause this person may never be self-sufficient and may need financial and custodial assistance long after you are gone. In addition, providing a traditional inheritance to this person could destroy his or her ability to qualify for government benefits.

At Varela Law, we can help you plan for the future security of your special needs loved one by helping you establish a Special Needs Trust. This is the most reliable way to ensure your inheritance and gifts will benefit your special needs dependent - without putting his or her government benefits at risk.


+ Business Succession

After you are gone (or in the event of your incapacity), your loved ones (family, partner, clients, vendors, and others) will miss you deeply, and your business needs to be able to go on to support them.

You will either leave them with a legacy that is meaningful, easy to manage (or cash out), and keep supporting them or you will leave them with a big mess to deal with. As an entrepreneur, this may be the most significant issue you can think about when it comes to the well- being of all of what matters most to you – your work and your family.

And yet, time and time again, this issue is overlooked by business owners and business lawyers serving their business owner clients. Not here.

It will be an ongoing conversation throughout the life of your business – what can we do today to ensure your business can and will continue to thrive whether you are on vacation, taking a health break, after its sold, or when you pass it on to loved ones after you are gone.

In addition, through our unique legacy process, we will ensure you leave your loved ones a tangible expression of your love for them far beyond your money or even your business.

If this interests you, please ask more about it when you come into meet with us for a LIFT Foundation Audit of your existing business or a LIFT Start-Up Session for a not yet started business.

+ Estate Plan Maintenance

At Varela Law, we do not believe estate planning is something you can do one time and then check off your list for the rest of your life. Instead, we believe your estate plan is an on-going process that should be reviewed and refined on a regular basis to take into account inevitable changes in your family, your assets, and the law. That is why all of our plans include a complimentary review at least once every three years.

+ Leaving a Legacy—that's about more than money

After you are gone, your loved ones will miss you deeply. They will long for your words of counsel and concern. Hearing your voice again would be a tremendous gift.

Through our unique legacy process, you can give your loved ones the most precious gift - a lasting expression of your love. What could be more valuable?

At Varela Law, we believe estate planning is not just about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings. It’s also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: who you are and what's important to you – your values, insights, stories and experience.

Several years ago, my good friend from college passed away. He had left me a voicemail message on my cell phone and for years after he died, I would listen to it from time to time and I refused to delete it. Until the day when I changed cell phone carriers and later realized that the message was gone. How much would your children or family cherish a recording of you telling them what you love about them, your hopes for them, and what life lessons are most important to you.

Few people ever record a message like this. We just get so caught up with the day to day of our lives that focusing in on leaving a legacy seems to take a back seat. That’s why at Varela Law, we make it part of our planning for every client.

We help you capture and pass on more than just your money: your intellectual, spiritual and human assets, who you are and what’s important to you.
 

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