Estate Planning & Administration

Estate Planning

Gutwein Law offers estate planning services in two broad categories: basic and comprehensive.  While your particular needs may fall in between the two broad categories, the categories can help establish a better understandings at the beginning of our relationship.

The Basic Package provides an in person meeting with an attorney to review your situation and answer your questions, predictable pricing, and a complete set of essential estate planning documents.  These plan documents could include Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Power of Attorneys, Health Care Directives, and Funeral Planning Directives.  This process generally involves a conference with an attorney and a follow up meeting to review and sign the plan documents.  The fees for these services generally range from $1,400 to $4,300.

The Comprehensive Package involves multiple meetings, a complete review of assets, and generally more advanced planning tools to accomplish specific client objectives. 

With the comprehensive services, Gutwein Law will review your current business structure and relationships, existing business succession plans, and all of your assets, including real, tangible, intangible, and digital.  The assets will be reviewed for values, transfer restrictions, and titles or beneficiaries.  Your attorney will communicate and coordinate with your other professional advisors, including your CPA, Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Life Insurance Agent.  Once your current situation is reviewed, your attorney will provide a complete overview and work with you to determine the best avenue to accomplish your goals.  Finally, documents will be prepared to implement your plan.  These documents will be carefully reviewed with you along with an overview of your plan so that you can be confident and understand your plan.  As these comprehensive services involve multiple meetings prior to document preparation and a significant investment of attorney time outside of your meetings, fees for these  services typically start at $5,000 and can be $25,000 or more depending on the particular situations being addressed.

Complex plans created by the attorneys at Gutwein Law often include one or more trusts which might be living or testamentary, revocable or irrevocable, grantor or non-grantor.  They utilize irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs), charitable lead and charitable remainder trusts (CRATs and CRUTs), grantor retained interests trusts (GRATs and GRUTs), contingent stock acquisition trusts (CSATs), generation skipping trusts, spousal lifetime access trusts (SLATs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), special needs trusts, disclaimer trusts, and other individualized trusts designed to accomplish particular objectives. 

The attorneys at Gutwein Law frequently utilize various tools and techniques, including self-cancelling installment notes (SCINs), transfer on death deeds (TOD), family limited liability companies (LLCs), and the creation of private or family foundations to simplify asset transfers or reduce estate tax exposure.

Estate Administration

Gutwein Law administers a full range of estates.  Our goal is to make the process as clear as possible and to minimize the degree of stress during a sometimes difficult time of transition.  We will discuss cost expectations at the beginning along with an overview of the process and allocation of responsibilities.  Whether the situation requires supervised or unsupervised probate, administration of a trust, or both, Gutwein Law will work to make the process as smooth and predictable as possible. 

In appropriate situations in the course of administering estates, the attorneys use various post mortem planning techniques including disclaimer planning, family settlement agreements, court ordered deviations, court established trusts, and distributions in kind.  We are familiar with the planning needed to minimize tax burdens by taking advantage of opportunities such as minority interest and lack of marketability discounts, as well as alternate valuation dates and methods.  We have experience identifying and locating missing heirs, with ancillary administration in multiple jurisdictions, and other less common situations.


Estate Plan Maintenance Programs

Gutwein Law offers its clients an optional maintenance program to help them stay on top of their plan and adjust it as needed to meet both their needs and changes in the law.

The Basic Maintenance Plan is intended to provide a simple and efficient way to stay on top of your plan.  We will communicate on an annual basis and provide a summary of your current plan so that designated roles can be reviewed, beneficiaries examined, and current contact information verified.  This service includes minor document revisions such as name changes, and includes an in person meeting every three years to review your current plan in light of your personal situation.  The cost of the Basic Maintenance Plan is $150 per year.

The Comprehensive Maintenance Plan is intended to provide a more thorough annual review with a rotating annual focus.  The focus areas include: a) overview of current assets and review of values and current tax environment, transfer restrictions and beneficiary designations, b) advance directives, individuals designated and end of life wishes, and current legal developments, and c) disposition of assets through current plan documents, identification of beneficiaries and anticipated flow of assets.  An in person meeting is available each year for this review, and minor document revisions such as name changes, as well as an update of your comprehensive asset summary are included with this program.  The cost of the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan is $650 per year.

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