Please enjoy this article for senior estate planning services offered by The Family Legacy Alliance:
In Martindale-Hubbell®’s groundbreaking 2007 survey on estate planning, 45% of all adult Americans have a will with an equal number having living wills as well (also known as medical directives). But while this almost even split may seem reasonable, the fact is that many hire an attorney to draft these documents and then let them sit untouched for years — amidst varying life stages and important changes in estate and tax laws. This, according to Michael Stuart, an attorney, CPA and founder of The Family Legacy Alliance, LLC, is risky because it could severely compromise a person’s original desires and put the distribution of assets into the hands of the state. Stuart says, “Most families are lulled into a sense of complacency. They think that because a lawyer drafted a plan, it will work for their family forever. In many cases, this simply isn’t true.”
Stuart’s firm, located in Schaumburg, is only one of a handful of firms across the United States using a maintenance-style approach to estate planning. He works with the entire family, not just his immediate clients, meeting with them periodically to ensure that the estate plan is on track. Unlike traditional law firms that charge by the hour, Stuart charges by the project which includes updates over a three year period. This, he says, allows clients to focus on their situation, not their lawyer’s timesheet. And it isn’t all about passing on wealth, he points out. Through his maintenance-style counsel, he helps families preserve cherished memories, share stories, communicate their feelings about the future, and celebrate the things that are important to them now.
This devoted father of three who hails from Greek parentage has dedicated his life to helping others live without regret largely because of his own personal experience. “My father passed away when I was 11 years old. I never realized how sick he was. I never got to say goodbye to him. I have often thought that had he written a letter telling me his hopes, dreams and fears, I would have cherished that letter far more than the money and property,” said Stuart. He suggests that parents write a letter to their children or make a video because the “the legacy you leave is more than financial.”
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