How We Are Different
We Are More Than A Documents-Only Law Center. We Curate Estate Plans That Keep Your Loved Ones Out of Court and Out of Conflict and Prevent Your Treasures From Being Lost to The Missouri Treasurer’s Department Of Unclaimed Property
Explaining how we’re different requires an explanation of what the “traditional” experience with a documents-only law firm is like. If you’ve worked with a lawyer to prepare estate planning documents for you in the past, this will sound familiar.
What A Traditional Lawyer Experience Is Like
During the traditional documents-only experience, you’ll go in and meet with a lawyer who will oftentimes make things seem very complicated and confusing.
You’ll have a good idea that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what they are doing, so you’ll nod and answer questions as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing for your family, you’ll have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you’ll sign the documents, feeling relieved that you’ve gotten that taken care of.
You’ll take your fancy planning binder home, stick it on a shelf or in a drawer, mark estate planning off on your checklist as DONE and never think about it again.
You might remember your lawyer said something about moving your bank accounts into the trust. So you’ll go to the bank, forget what you were supposed to do, call your lawyer’s office, get a voicemail, leave the bank, and wait for a call back (which takes several hours at least and sometimes days), and by that time you’ll have gotten busy with life and never get around to moving that bank account into your trust.
A few weeks later, you’ll get a bill in the mail for $75.00 for 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You’ll make a mental note – don’t call the lawyer ever again.
Thank you for your interest in our law center and our comprehensive, curated estate plans. We strive to be the trusted estate planning adviser and educator in the Lake of the Ozarks community and throughout Mid-Missouri.
Most People Don't Want To Talk To Their Traditional Lawyer Again
Several years later, you'll refinance your house or sell it and you'll buy a new home and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know or make sure you put the new deed in the name of your trust.
Your children will have children who you want to provide for, making your prior beneficiary choices outdated, but you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you'll get a bill in the mail two weeks later.
You'll hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure you’d surely get a letter in the mail from your lawyer if it was something that affected you, so you don’t worry about it.
And, you'd have to dig through boxes to find your trust documents so you could remember your lawyer's name and find her contact information. Who has time for that?
It's not until you become incapacitated or die that family finds the binder you stuck up on a shelf several years before and never looked at again.
It is that moment when your family realizes your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your family, your treasures, or the law.
Your family is at a loss.
They don’t know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to probate your assets, which never made it into the trust.
How Do I Know All This?
Because during my years as an attorney, I have represented, witnessed, and learned about countless families who have had a very similar experience.
Unfortunately, what I discovered is the estate planning industry was not originally designed to serve families who, quite naturally, experience change over time - change in their age and stage in life, their family members and family dynamics, who they love and what they care about, and what they own. It was designed in service to one frozen moment in time, and to a one-and-done legal paperwork process.
Our Firm Helps You Prepare For Life
My philosophy is that life comes with a limited time offer, and when we embrace that fact head-on with a deep dive into our own estate planning, we emerge feeling freer to experience the true magic of life. We live more vibrantly. Toward that end, we provide comprehensive, curated trust-based plans.
You want to know you have 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 that your adult children or others you love and trust are properly prepared to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so for yourself and to transition the treasures that you own to the people and charities that you care about. 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.
This is our focus as well.
We have an established three-meeting process that starts with a two-hour family wealth planning session, where you provide me with information about the assets you have worked so hard to acquire, along with information about who you love and your family dynamics. We discuss the planning you currently have in place (we often see planning that is old and outdated, or prepared in another state), and if you do not have your own planning in place, we look at the plan the state of Missouri has in place for you. Next, I help you to look at and understand the outcome you and your family will have with the plan you have in place right now. If you do not like that outcome, we will focus in on what you do not like about it and explore with you the planning options that will bring about the result you want.
Our second meeting is a signing ceremony where your legal documents come to life, and during your third meeting you receive your estate planning portfolio and create a legacy video recording for your family where you can share a cherished memory or family story, leave a message for your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or discuss why you made the decisions that you did in your estate plan. Our three-meeting process concludes with a discussion about how we can help you keep your estate plan current throughout your lifetime and be there as a trusted advisor for your loved ones to turn to after you are gone or incapacitated.
We strive to make it as easy as possible to get this vital yet far too often overlooked or postponed rite of passage (right up there with the rites of passage of birth, coming of age, marriage, eldership, and death) handled.
We can do all of this even if you have already worked with a traditional, documents-only lawyer or created a do-it-yourself set of documents online.
Our Team Is Here For You
We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we have thrown out the time clocks, so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Every level of estate planning we offer is provided on a flat-fee basis, agreed to, and paid for in advance, so there are never any surprises.
We have a team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you won’t have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. You’ll get your question answered, right away. And if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic meeting with me, a phone, zoom or in-person meeting will be scheduled so we can make the very best use of our collective time, energy and attention, with none being wasted by leaving messages back and forth for a return call.
We ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.
We support you to ensure your assets are titled the right way throughout your lifetime and that none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the Missouri State Treasurer’s Department of Unclaimed Property, which presently holds more than $1 billion in lost and forgotten about unclaimed assets. We do this by creating a full inventory of your assets for you to keep updated throughout your lifetime, so when a sad day comes, your family will know exactly what you own and where it is located.
As an integral companion service to your curated estate plan and comprehensive asset inventory, we have a no-cost, 3-year review process so we can help you identify any updates that are needed to your planning or trust funding in light of ever-changing family, asset and tax law changes. For planners who feel every three years won’t keep up with their rapid pace of change, we have a unique membership program that for a small annual membership fee will help you to keep your plan and trust funding up-to-date, year after year, and provide an array of other valuable member benefits.
Has your story been told? We help you transfer your family legacy
Lastly, we know that your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Family Legacy.
Your "Family Legacy" is made up of your assets, yes, but also treasures that are far more valuable than money.
These assets are what make you who you are and sum up what is most important to you.
A survey of inheritors revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting money, is inheriting intangible assets.
Most estate plans focus only 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, and then 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 learned during their lifetime? If you are like most people, you know very little.
That is why we design estate plans that capture and pass these most valuable assets to the people you love.
Not only will we help you pass on your money but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experiences – the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most.
On the day you receive your estate planning binder, we hope you will sit for a few minutes, in front of the camera, and tell a family story, tradition, or cherished memory to include with your curated estate plan and asset inventory. Imagine your family’s surprise when they take possession of your binder and realize that it isn’t full of just legal documents, but also your memories, the sound of your voice, and your facial expressions.
We help transition your family treasures….treasures that will last long after your money is gone.
No Time For Mistakes
Learn The Six Major Mistakes Families Make When Choosing An Estate Planning Attorney ... And How To Make A Loving Choice For Your Family
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O'Donnell Law Center
1026 Palisades Blvd.,
Osage Beach, MO 65065
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