Procrastination is the Greatest Enemy of Estate Planning

Family squabblesEstate planning isn’t just a topic for older people. It’s also for young families with children and mortgage payments. They are often the least prepared and most vulnerable in case of a parent’s unexpected death.

Planning your estate doesn’t mean you must have significant assets. Even if you are making a decent living, you still need to protect your family's future,  such as your home equity and your family's ability to maintain their lifestyle, if you are gone. This requires you to take some simple steps now to avoid long and costly probate court proceedings.

Make decisions on who gets what. Create a list of your assets, how you want them distributed and the names of the person(s) appointed to carry out your wishes.

Visit a local estate planning attorney and do it correctly. This is not a do-it-yourself project with documents found online. If you make a mistake, you won't be around to correct it by the time it is discovered. Instead, engage an experienced estate planning attorney.

Learn about your estate plan options. Talk with your attorney about a will or a revocable living trust. A will must go through probate before assets can be distributed. If you create a revocable living trust, name yourself as trustee while you are alive and capable. If you pass away or become incapacitated, you have a successor trustee to take over so that he or she won’t have to go to probate court to be empowered to carry out your written instructions. With a trust, you must retitle your assets in the name of your trust.

Look at your health care issues. You never know if illness will take away your ability to make decisions. Select a trusted friend or family member to be your healthcare power of attorney.  You should also make a living will to express your thoughts on any treatment required to prolong your life, as well as your desires for organ donation.

Think about your funeral wishes. Write these instructions down and place them in a spot where they can be found before your will is read. This usually takes place after the funeral is held.

Get those documents signed, change the title to any property, fund any accounts that are started as part of your estate plan and tell your family where everything can be found. We are here to help you plan – either call us at 757.259.0707 or request a consultation by clicking this link.

Reference: Chicago Tribune (May 8, 2017) “5 essential steps of estate planning”


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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.