Estate Planning & Taxation

At Cairn Law, we provide thoughtful advice about estate planning. We recognize that there are many myths surrounding estate planning, such as:

Myth #1: “I don’t need a will” or “Only very wealthy people need estate planning.”

In fact, nearly everyone can benefit from the estate planning process. Even young people can die or have debilitating illnesses or accidents, and death or incapacity without proper planning can impose severe emotional and financial strain on those left behind.

Myth #2: “I can buy will software at Costco. It’s all I need.”

In fact, although a will is an important component of a proper estate plan, it is part of a coordinated whole. It is also important to have current and accurate durable powers of attorney and a health care directive in place. In addition, a will should be coordinated with other documents, such as beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement accounts. Although working with an estate planning attorney will be more expensive than buying software, it can also help ensure that your will reflects your goals, desires, and priorities, and avoid legal problems that can create financial and emotional turmoil for those you leave behind.

Myth #3: Estate planning is expensive and an agonizing process.

In fact, the estate planning process does not have to be difficult, confusing, or overly expensive. We help clients analyze their needs and find the right balance between their needs, their desire for simplicity, and cost. This process can provide a sense of calm and security regardless of the client’s age, income level, or family situation.

What Are Your Needs?

Essential Estate Planning

Some clients want to keep their plans as simple as possible, while ensuring that their most important needs are taken care of. Our Essential Estate Planning process provides the most important protections in the event a tragedy strikes. Includes an in-depth conversation about your personal needs and objectives, our professional advice, custom designed will, powers of attorney, and a health care directive. Although not as comprehensive as our other estate planning offerings, Essential Estate Planning helps ensure that your most important concerns are addressed, while keeping costs reasonable. Essential estate planning starts at $1,000 for a single person and $1,500 for a married couple.

Comprehensive Estate Planning

Our comprehensive planning is designed for those with more complex planning needs. Comprehensive estate planning may incorporate complex trusts, advanced estate and gift tax planning, and generation-skipping tax planning, and sophisticated charitable giving. Comprehensive planning is custom designed to your unique situation and life journey. Services might include:

  • Advanced estate tax planning, including Qualified Personal Residence Trusts or Grantor-Retained Annuity Trusts
  • Generation-skipping transfer tax planning
  • Complex charitable gift planning, including Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Planning with life insurance, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Dynasty trust planning
  • Advanced asset protection planning

Where Are You in Life’s Journey?

Your estate planning needs are driven in part by your life situation. We have found that our clients often fit into one or more of the broad categories described below. The descriptions below are not intended to be exclusive or comprehensive. Many people fall into multiple categories, while others may not identify with any of these. The important thing is to carefully consider how your current situation influences your need for planning.

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Starting Out Looking Forward Second Half On Your Own Pet Owners