The Thompson Mungo Firm is an estate planning law firm dedicated to educating and assisting individuals and families with memorializing their wishes in the event they become incapacitated or pass away. We specialize in creating personalized and comprehensive estate and disability plans to ensure that you make the choice as to what happens to you, your family and your assets. This kind of preparation memorializes and protects your financial, personal, and family legacy.
At the Thompson Mungo Firm we value the needs of each of our clients, that is why we take the time to meet with each client to get to know them and craft a well thought out plan to protect their family, belongings and their legacy. Think about it, estate planning can be overwhelming but with the proper guidance it will give you peace of mind. An estate plan can include several sophisticated documents, but a basic estate plan should at least include a Will, Advance Directive For Healthcare, Medical Information Release, Financial Power of Attorney and Nomination of Guardian for Minor Children.
Everyone needs estate planning. Children under the age of 18 are protected by their parents’ estate plan but everyone age 18 or older needs his or her own estate plan. Of course, estate plans vary immensely depending on goals, finances, family situation, domicile (where you live). There is no one-size-fits all estate plan.
Everyone needs estate planning, no matter their age. Children under the age of 18 are protected by their parents’ estate plan; everyone age 18 or older needs his or her own estate plan. Of course, estate plans vary immensely depending on goals, finances, family situation, domicile (where you live). There is no one-size-fits all estate plan. If you’re wondering whether you need an estate plan, you’re asking the right question and, yes, you do.
Everyone is surprised when we answer this question. Even an 18-year-old high school senior needs her own estate plan. Once a child attains the age of 18, she is legally an adult and must make her own health care, financial, and legal decisions. Without legal documentation, parents are powerless to act on behalf of their adult children.
Of course an 18-year-old’s estate plan is very different from a 48-year-old’s estate plan because life, assets, goals, and family situation evolve over 30 years, but some basics are the same.
You don’t need to be a Rockefeller or Kennedy to need an estate plan. In fact, you don’t need any assets to need an estate plan. What you do need is one of the following: 1. someone you love, 2. the desire to control your life and finances, 3. the desire to maintain privacy, or 4. the wish to avoid court interference.
To help you think this through, here are non-monetary reasons to have an estate plan in place: 1. an estate plan empowers your trusted helpers to make healthcare decisions and manage your day-to-day business if you’re not able to; 2. appoints guardians for minor children and pets; and 3. avoids medical heroics through a living will.
Without a doubt, yes. Even an 18-year-old high school senior needs an estate plan. Once a child attains the age of 18, she is legally an adult and must make her own health care, financial, and legal decisions. Parents are powerless to act on behalf of their adult children without legal documentation.
Just because you marry someone does not automatically mean that they will inherit from you. Some assets, such as life insurance policies, have beneficiary designations that must be changed. Whoever is listed on those will receive the assets on your death. For those assets that do not have a beneficiary designation, they will be distributed according to the state law of intestacy. While each state may vary, in most cases, the assets will be distributed between the surviving spouse and other family members. An estate plan puts you in control of the inheritance you leave behind.
A move should not be a reason to put off your estate planning. While we understand that there are a lot of changes occurring, tragedy can occur at any time. Even if you are changing states, there are still some aspects such as updating your beneficiary designations that can be accomplished and will not be affected by the move. Additionally, it is a good idea to have a Medical Power of Attorney, even if you are not going to be in the state for too much longer. Life can be very unpredictable, and you do not want to get caught needing court intervention should something happen to you or your spouse before the move.
In the estate planning world, the term “disabled” refers to an individual’s incapacity or the inability to manage day-to-day business affairs such as managing and protecting assets, signing papers, paying bills, and filing taxes. “Disability” or “incapacity” doesn’t mean you’re laid up on the couch with a bad back; instead, it means that you don’t have the physical and mental capacity necessary to manage your personal business. There are two options for maintaining control during a period of disability; and, often, we recommend the use of both: power of attorney and revocable living trust.
Disability is the perfect example of why you need to appoint trusted helpers. If you have an up-to-date power of attorney, the named agent may be able to manage your finances, including paying your bills. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a legally documented disability/incapacity plan, your loved ones will battle it out in court and a judge will decide who’s in charge. Because power of attorney documents are often turned down, we use the belt and suspenders approach for many clients, including a trust with disability provisions.
TIP: Be sure to name a contingent agent in case your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve. The same with disability trustees. Be sure to name successor disability trustees in case your named trustees are unable or unwilling to serve when the time comes.
They may be getting along well now, but there’s no telling what will happen after your death. The court records are full of cases that could be said to have begun with these exact facts. Estate planning puts you in charge and allows you to make sure everyone that’s important to you – your new spouse and your children from a prior marriage – understands your wishes. This greatly reduces the risk of conflict and, in some cases, can completely eliminate conflict.
Joint tenancy does avoid probate and is often better than no planning. However, if you and your spouse were to die at the same time then the joint tenancy is “broken” and your respective halves would have to go through probate. Additionally, if your new spouse survives you, then he or she owns all of the property that was jointly owned. Even if the two of you agreed that your children from a prior marriage should be supported or left an inheritance, your new spouse owns the property and can do whatever he or she wants with the property. This could completely disinherit your children from a prior marriage.
We’ll help you set up an estate plan that protects and provides for whomever you’d like – often that’s children and, sometimes, a second or third spouse. Your estate plan, likely including trusts, will be carefully crafted to balance the interests of your children as well as your spouse. Without proper planning, too many parents accidentally disinherit their beloved children and cause havoc (and expensive lawsuits) in blended families. But with proper planning, you can take care of everyone’s needs in an equitable way that reduces the risk of expensive conflict.
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“I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to meet and work with Attorney Thompson for all of my estate planning needs. I have previously worked with other estate planning attorneys to my dismay… Unfortunately and fortunately, they did not work out for several reasons. Attorney Thompson and I met we discussed my wishes and concerns. After our initial interview I felt very confident moving forward with her as my representative. She is confident and very passionate about her work. I felt very at ease sharing my most intimate details with Attorney Thompson. She was warm, caring and most of all very professional. I would and I have recommended her and her services to other family members and friends.”