Protecting Our Clients And Their Legacy Since 1991
Planning for Peak Earning Years
Serving Families and Individuals throughout Richmond, Texas and the Surrounding Areas
Are you between age 40 and 55? If yes, then congratulations. Research has shown that you are in your peak earning years. And that is a very good thing.
Chances are good that you have some expensive life events going on right now, unlike when you were among the Married Couples without children. Do you have children who are college-bound or already there? Do you have a wedding scheduled (or one or more down the road)? Perhaps you are beginning to help aging parents with personal, health care and financial responsibilities.
Can you say Sandwich Generation?
I know you may be busy and are likely tired, very tired. Nevertheless, this would be a good time to create (or revisit) your estate plan, make sure your adult children and parents have their legal ducks-in-a-row, too.
Unfortunately, many married couples mistakenly believe that they can make personal, health care and financial decisions for one another should either spouse become legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness. Nothing could be further from reality!
Without proper estate planning in advance to appoint your spouse as the incapacity decision-maker, he or she will not have legal authority to make even fundamental decisions for you (or affecting both of you). For example, medical privacy laws will bar access to your medical records and the ability to consult with your attending physician, financial laws limit control over your finances, and IRS regulations will prohibit filing a “legal” joint income tax return … for starters.
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. While the judge will likely appoint your spouse, the probate court process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for your spouse.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your spouse and assets.
In fact, depending on how you titled your assets and how your beneficiary designations are arranged, you may disinherit your own spouse and force your spouse to sue your estate!
When it comes to your children, great care should be given to protect any inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. Dollars earned just spend differently than dollars inherited. In addition to good, old-fashioned squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.
Fortunately, with proper (and very careful) estate planning, you can provide an inheritance that is protected for and even from your own children. Remember, two things you cannot choose in life are your own folks and the spouses of your children.
Are your parents already in or considering a transition to some form of long-term care? If yes, have you noticed how expensive the continuum of care is? From in-home assistance to assisted living to skilled nursing the expenses can destroy savings and investments created over a lifetime of hard work and thrift.
Your peak earning years are the perfect time to lock-in a long-term care insurance policy while you are still able to qualify physically and mentally. Some versions of coverage only pay if you need long-term care assistance, but others can now do double-duty and turn into life insurance if you do not need such assistance. That is a popular alternative to traditional long-term care insurance.
There is a 70% risk of needing long-term care once you reach age 65. Curiously, 70% of people think they will not be among those 70% needing care (i.e., denial) and 70% of people think Medicare will pay for it (i.e., ignorance)! You do not want to be in that 70% who are in denial, ignorant or both.
If you need assistance with the activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring), then you may want to hire a professional to take care of them instead of your children.
When you are ready for help with your long-term care planning through appropriate insurance, then we can help you find that, as well.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid probate and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.
Probate and estate administration are the processes through which estate assets are transferred after death. Assets to be transferred under terms of a will go through probate.
“We are so grateful for the recommendation to contact Petrosewicz Law Firm, PC to get us through our overwhelming situation. Norma was extremely helpful and patient in outlining our different options and answering the many questions we had. She was able to make comp licated scenarios easy to understand. Eventually we decided on what we wanted and Norma took the initiative and was very proactive navigating us through the whole process, making sure we completed/submitted everything, and taking care of any/all loose issues. She is very smart and also has a sense of humor, which is great when you're dealing with stressful situations.
Her group is highly professional and always friendly, answered any questions we had and any problems were brought to resolution with no delays. We will definitely keep in touch with Norma for any future issues that may come. Thank you Norma for all you and your group did for us.”
Scott and Jan
“Now that we have completed our estate planning, we wanted to thank you and your team for the exceptional work. Your patient, extensive time spent counseling us on smart options was most astute and creative. We also appreciated Benecia Flores’ patient tutoring in what the documents meant. The legal-speak can be confusing, and you both helped us understand not just the "what" but also the "why" of our documents and planning. Elizabeth Hernandez orchestrated the meetings, document signing and final deliverables ever so efficiently! Thank you all for your support.”
Sue and Bob S.
“Norma is kind, professional, and takes her time with her clients. She is willing to listen and has her clients' best interest at heart. I highly recommend her estate planning service.”
“We could not have been more satisfied with our estate planning experience. Norma is extremely knowledgeable and was very thorough in helping us understand the process and our options. She and her staff are professional, friendly and a delight to work with in every way. We give them our highest recommendation.”
Jim & Stacye L.
“Jamie and I had the opportunity to use Norma for our family trust. She is very knowledgeable and can put your mind at ease. Our situation was very complicated in my opinion. We both finished knowing that we had made the right decisions. We both highly recommend her for estate planning.”
Jason and Jamie S.
“Professional estate planning law office with a very friendly staff. Norma Petrosewicz is extremely knowledgeable on estate planning. So glad we used her to help with our wills. Highly recommend her for your estate planning.”
“From our very first Estate Planning session with Norma Petrosewicz, she made us feel so comfortable and at ease and yet confident in her being able to accomplish all our Estate goals. Norma has a unique ability to make her clients feel like they have been friends for a long time. Norma and her entire staff are very knowledgeable and capable of answering any questions a client might have. We have and will continue to recommend Norma to our family and friends because of the very positive experience we had.”
Glenn and Brenda D.
“Norma was invaluable in helping our family through the emotional task of probating my husband’s will. She along with her team were very professional, thorough and always kept us informed while walking us through the process with patience and compassion. Norma answered our questions, no matter how trivial and educated us on matters that allowed us as a family to make the best, informed decisions. I also feel a great relief in knowing that my estate planning is in complete order too.”
“When faced with family estate [ will ] planning and how to get things done so all issues are properly addressed, and loved ones are not left with that task at a very difficult time, it can feel like, and it is a daunting and emotional task.
My husband and I were very fortunate to be referred to the Petrosewicz Law Firm. Norma and her staff have walked us through every single small detail, of the different options and advantages to each option. To have such in depth knowledge, expertise and assistance at one’s disposal, of not only the legal but the accounting side makes a huge difference in all the planning and peace of mind. The Petrosewicz Law Firm has made the experience of estate planning a clear and painless process.
We highly recommend the Petrosewicz Law Firm to anyone trying to get “their house in order” without being overwhelmed by the entire process while receiving invaluable support along the way.”