How to Plan Your Estate

Here's Our Process… Walt & Bennie Walt & Bennie Walt & Bennie - black and white

After years as an estate planning attorney, I have come to expect that most of us will postpone planning our estates. After all, who wants to anticipate or dwell on his or her own demise? What’s more, there are those that think only the wealthy or those with tax issues need estate planning.  Once the planning is completed however, most of my clients realize that both notions were wrong because their level of wealth and the ultimate tax consequences of their estate took a back seat to the planning and care of their family and other loved ones.

A revocable trust allows you to control the distribution of your assets and possessions, coupled with a “pour over will” that designates guardians for any minor children, it serves as a safety net if you have failed to  “fund” the trust with a asset or two. As an estate planning law firm our fundamental task is to assist you with a complete analysis of your current estate by reviewing your financial position as of today and analyzing your family’s needs in the future.

Although it is often overused, the expression, 'knowledge is power' is true in estate planning .  That's why we take the time to explain why you must plan for a family member who has special needs or requires medical attention, prepare for the cost of a college education when your children reach that age and determine how estate taxes may impact your assets as they are currently held. Disclosing this relevant information to us at the beginning of the planning phase helps us help you to develop an estate plan that will properly provide for your family’s needs.

In order to conduct a complete and thorough estate analysis, we will likely ask for all materials involving your current or future income, property ownership, insurance and any legal arrangements already in place. In addition, we ask you to educate us on all of your retirement benefits and plans: Social Security, IRAs, pensions and profit-sharing plans, investments, certificates of deposit, real estate, life insurance policies you own (as well as policies you have on others), beneficiaries, other trust agreements and your will.  Along with this information we ask you to bring a list of your current and anticipated debts—like mortgage and loan balance, real estate liens, taxes, consumer debts and estimates on funeral costs and estate settlement fees.

Once all of this information is ready, you're ready to request your complimentary consultation, either online or by calling our office @ 757.259.0707. You've worked hard for everything you have; now it's time for you to work with us to form a rock solid estate plan.

Reference: The Sabetha (KS) Herald (August 9, 2016) “Understanding the estate planning process”


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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.