Estate Planning Quiz

True or False:  There is no such thing as a simple estate. Prepared

True: there is no simple estate—everybody has complexity.  The basic questions are whether: (i) you're married; (ii) you have children, or children from multiple marriages or step-children; and (iii) there's real estate you own outside of the state. The larger the estate, the more questions there will be about how best to distribute the assets.

If it is a one-time married family, an estate planning attorney can provide for financial assets to go straight to the children without probate administration in many cases. But things can be more complicated with blended families. There may be one spouse with children by a prior marriage and children from a subsequent marriage. If that is the case, then you may want to be sure that the children by the first marriage will be treated the same when the surviving spouse (not their parent) will have control of all of the assets.

Frequently, whether to make it the step-parent’s responsibility to control distribution can be avoided, starting with a discussion to learn if that step parent is willing to carry out an equitable division among the various "blended" children. If it doesn't look like they want that responsibility or if they will be pressured by their own family members to change the plan, then you may need to create a trust with someone other than the surviving spouse as trustee. That will make certain that assets you intend go to the children from your first marriage will actually be made.

A minimum set of documents that every retiree should have includes a will, a power of attorney and medical documents such as an advanced directive. A durable power of attorney permits the person you choose to deal with your finances. An advanced medical directive includes the appointment of an agent to make healthcare decision when you can’t as well as a living will, which is a written document communicating your wishes regarding end-of-life care.

The problem is that this minimum set of documents often do not serve an incapacitated person very well.  Unfortunately, the financial power of attorney has a shelf life or banks or financial institutions will require their form be used; knowledge that one acquires only after the individual no longer has the capacity to sign their form!  Revocable living trust are the preferred estate plan.  The trust is effective immediately so you can be alerting instantly if there are problems with a Trustee being able to access an asset when needed allowing you to solve any issues that arises. Here’s your last question and your grade for this quiz is riding on the right answer. Should I speak with an experienced estate planning attorney about these important documents.

Reference: The (Eugene, OR) Register-Guard (March 23, 2016) "Wills, trusts, big decisions"


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.