Who Am I?
Hi, I am Jill Singer, a resident of Wellington, Florida, and I started this practice to bring awareness to my community about the importance of estate planning. I grew up seeing first hand the devastation and misery that comes with relatives passing with no planning in place. I watched my mother have to battle it out in court with her cousins when my great aunt and uncle passed with no planning in place, only to have to spend valuable time and resources to ensure that what should have stayed in our family stayed in our family. In the end, per a Court's direction, part of the assets went to my Great Aunt's family across the country with whom she had no relationship and had not spoken to in half a century. What's worst is that she explicitly told us she wanted nothing to do with her family and deeply disliked them. I cannot imagine her reaction if she were to have learned what ended up happening to her assets. All of this could have been prevented with a simple Will in place.
My mother put in place a family Trust years ago, and just recently realized that a condo that she purchased in 2001 was never re-titled into her Trust. If she had passed today, her estate would have had to go through the time and expense of probate because the condo was not protected within her Trust. This would have undermined the very reason that she spent so much money decades ago to put her trust in place in the first place. Her traditional Estate Planning Attorney did not have systems in place to check for post-planning changes to her assets which would have prevented her estate from being at risk for all of these years.
My father recently passed away from brain cancer. During his last few years struggling with his condition and his pending demise, I wanted my time with him to be about him enjoying the short time he had left. As much as I wanted to ask him about his wishes for myself and my family and for any "final words and thoughts", I hated to have to bring this up and as a result I did not; thinking I would when the time was right, and there was always "next time". In the end, my dad's cancer came back with a vengeance, and we were told he only had 1-2 weeks left. He mentally deteriorated very quickly and went into hospice care and was only alert for a small amount of time each day. I certainly did not want to bring up death knowing that these were his final moments of life. Now that he's gone, I wish I had asked him questions about his thoughts and feelings and about his own final arrangements, and what mattered most to him, and what he envisioned for us. As a result, I deeply regret not having had that conversation with my dad while I still could on top of the deep sorrow that I feel from his recent and untimely demise.
It is from these experiences and from hearing others' experiences that I strive to make a difference and to ensure that people have proper planning in place to protect their loved ones; and systems in place to prevent traditional pitfalls that prevent plans from working the way that they were intended. I also have a built in "legacy" session which goes along with the planning I provide to give people the opportunity to share and record their words of wisdom and values for their loved ones; so as to avoid what happened to myself with my father, never having had that and being left with regrets. I also, want to build long term relationships with the people that I serve so as to foster communication and not quench it. Yes, I am a different type of attorney.
Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer Understand The Difference.
Many estate planning attorneys take a “one-size fits all” approach with their clients; they do this so that they can work with as many people as possible in a short period of time. The problem is that the client has impersonal experience; but worse than that, this way of planning can lead to unintended results in the long run for the family.
Consequences When Attorneys Don’t Listen
When lawyers do not take the time to listen and consider a family’s personal circumstances, the result is that your Will & Trust Documents do not end up reflecting what your family really wants to happen. And usually there is no review or updating, so the plan quickly becomes outdated and does not work when your family needs it most.
So even though you may pay less up front to get a standard set of documents (or even documents that are customized for your family), things end up much more expensive in the long run. Plus, you leave your family at risk of having to deal with an expensive, unnecessary court process during a time of tremendous grief.
Legal Planning For Life, PLLC, is right for you if you want to know that your plan will actually work when you and your loved ones need it most. If all you want is a set of legal documents, there are plenty of online resources you can use to create them. Or you can go to a traditional estate planning lawyer.
If what you want is to know you’ve got a plan in place that will work when your family needs it, and keep the people you love out of court, and out of conflict, and your assets out of the hands of the government, then we might be the right fit for you.
Here are Some of the Ways We Are Different From Most Other Estate Planning Lawyers
1. All of our fees are fixed fees agreed to in advance, so there are no surprises. At our initial meeting you will choose the level of planning and fee that works best for your family, so there will never be any surprises.
2. We keep you informed and make sure your plan works. We don’t just prepare a set of legal documents for you and send you on your way. We make sure your assets are owned in the right way, we make sure your kids’ well-being is properly planned for, we ensure everyone you’ve named in your plan knows what to do if anything happens to you. And, we make sure that none of your assets become part of the $58 Billion of unclaimed assets across the United States.
3. We review your plan at least every 3 years. We foster a lifetime, ongoing relationship with our clients. Throughout your life, things change. You change; your assets change; your family changes; the law will definitely change. When planning with us, your plan will keep up with those changes.
4. We have a process for helping you make sure that your assets are titled in the right way, both now and over your lifetime.
5. We help you get your legal and financial house in order by helping you make smart choices about things like buying insurance, saving for college, and retirement planning so you never spend more than you have to or get taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales people.
6. We’ve been specifically trained as a Personal Family Lawyer® to plan for your life and death, and to ensure that if you have minor children, they are never raised by anyone you wouldn’t want or taken into the care of strangers. And, if your children are adults, we help you weave them into your estate plan with care and forethought that most other lawyers simply do not have the training to do.
7. Legacy Planning. We believe that planning is about much more than just the transfer of your financial wealth. With all of our plans, we include a process to help you transfer your most important personal wealth to your loved ones, including your intellectual, spiritual and human assets - who you are and what’s important to you.
Our Firm Prepares You for Life
What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You are raising children, and caring for elderly parents, while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support. You want to know you’ve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most.
You want to make sure your minor children would be raised by the people you choose, and never by anyone you wouldn’t want, and that your teens and adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind.
You want to feel confident that you’ve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you aren’t leaving behind a mess, when something happens.
We Are Here for You
We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we’ve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.
We ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.
We have a “funding coordinator” to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death.
We Help You Transfer Your “Family Wealth”
Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall “Family Wealth” which is made up of your far more valuable – and most often lost upon incapacity or death – intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up what’s most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets.
Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. It’s just not a priority, until it’s too late. How much do you know about your grandparents’ values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime?
If you are like most people, you know very little. That’s why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience – the truly valuable assets your loved one’s care about the most.
We’ve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I can’t go into all of the details here, but we’ll definitely talk about it when you come in for your Family Wealth Planning Session.