About Us
Marriage Planning FAQs
Separation FAQs
  • What is a legal separation?

    A legal separation, either temporary or for an unlimited time, may be granted when the differences between the parties have caused a temporary breakdown of the marriage. Virtually all issues that could arise in a divorce proceeding could also arise in a legal separation proceeding. In addition, the costs, fees and procedures are usually the same as in a dissolution case. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, and additional divorce proceedings are required if the couple decides to end the marriage.

  • If my spouse and I are separated, can I get child support?

    Yes. Child support may be requested and  awarded if you and your spouse are physically separated or as part of a Judgment of Legal Separation. However, it is not guaranteed.

Divorce FAQs
  • What can I do to prepare information before filing for divorce?

    Collect your asset and income information such as: tax returns, titles to real estate, retirement plans and accounts, non-retirement investments, savings information, pay stubs and stock options. Assemble a thorough account of your financial obligations (debts and monthly bills) as well. It is a good idea to obtain a credit report early in the process in order to thoroughly address all aspects of a settlement. In addition, when custody and parenting time are an issue, it is helpful to gather information relevant to the care of the child, such as parenting journals or e-mails between the parents.

  • Will I have to go through a trial to get a divorce?

    Each case is unique, but the majority of divorce cases are resolved outside of court, through agreement between the parties, negotiation between attorneys, or mediation. There will be a trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach agreement on all the issues. If the parties reach a partial agreement, a trial will resolve the issues that are still in dispute.

  • Can a wife have her former name restored?

    Upon request, a judge will grant one spouse’s request for a name change. However, a spouse cannot force the other spouse to stop using his or her last name just because the parties have been or will be divorced.

  • What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

    A property settlement agreement is a written contract between the parties listing and dividing the marital property and financial obligations. It may also be used in settling custody, child support and spousal support in accordance with the wishes of the parties. A property settlement agreement reached before a trial is subject to a judge’s approval, but typically will be fully incorporated into the divorce judgment.

  • Will I lose my spouse's group health insurance after the divorce?

    You can ask to continue your health insurance coverage through your spouse’s employer by enrolling in the COBRA plan. This extension period can range from eighteen months to three years, but there are stringent requirements related to the enrollment period and prompt payment of premiums. Aside from COBRA, group health insurance plans generally do not allow a former spouse to remain covered on the ex-spouse’s plan.

  • Will either party be required to pay spousal support?

    Spousal support must be requested in the initial pleadings before a judge will consider awarding it. A judge will consider a variety of factors to determine whether spousal support is appropriate. These factors correspond to the type of spousal support that is ultimately awarded. Some basic factors include the length of the marriage, the parties’ earning capacity and financial needs, tax consequences of an award, and the parties’ work or educational experience.

  • Does spousal support automatically end if the receiving spouse remarries?

    In Oregon, no, although remarriage is something that a judge can consider if there is a request to modify or terminate the spousal support award. In addition, the parties may agree that spousal support will terminate upon remarriage. 

    In Washington, spousal maintenance automatically terminates when the spouse receiving maintenance remarries.

  • How will spousal support affect my taxes?

    The party receiving spousal support treats these payments as regular income for tax purposes. The party making the support payments can deduct these payments from their taxable income.

  • If I didn't get spousal support in my divorce judgment, can I go back to the court and get it later?

    No. Spousal support must be ordered in your original divorce decree or the court is powerless to award any spousal support.

Child Matters
  • Can I stop allowing parenting time if the other parent stops paying child support?

    No. You must give the other parent the parenting time ordered even if child support is not being paid.

  • Can I stop paying child support if the other parent won't let me visit my child?

    No. You can go to Court and ask to end the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but you cannot end payments without the Court’s permission. The Court does not like to stop child support payments and it will allow support to be stopped only if there is proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time.

  • Can the child support order include insurance coverage?

    A parent may be ordered to pay for the children’s health insurance if it is available through work, a union, or a group. The cost of the insurance coverage may increase or decrease the child support payment, depending on which parent is providing the insurance.

  • Could I get parenting time with my step-child?

    Blended families are common today as new spouses often bring one or more children into a marriage, merging two families. Sometimes, the new step-parent becomes the mother- or father-figure for a child, or may be the only mother or father the child has ever known. What happens to these relationships after a divorce? Does the divorce mean a severance of the relationship between a child and step-parent as well?

    The Court of Appeals addressed this issue last year in the case of Van Driesche. In this case, the stepfather sought visitation with the mother’s child, age 4. Stepfather had been the only father the child had known and mother had encouraged a parent-child relationship. The trial court awarded stepfather parenting time, citing the parent-child relationship between step-father and the child. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and denied the stepfather visitation, citing the mother’s right under the U.S. Constitution to make decisions regarding the associations of her child, with the absence of evidence that the child could be harmed by the mother’s decision. At trial, the stepfather failed to provide evidence, other than his opinion, that the child would be harmed if visitation was not allowed. Without evidence of harm, and in light of evidence showing that the mother and the stepfather at times had a violent relationship, the Court of Appeals found that visitation by the stepfather was not in the best interest of the child.

    This does not mean that no step-parent will ever be awarded visitation. Upon showing that the step-parent and child have a parent-child relationship, and that the child would be subject to a serious risk of harm (emotional or otherwise) if the relationship was not continued, the court may order appropriate visitation to the step-parent. If you are in this situation, you should discuss the specific facts of your case in detail with your attorney.

  • Do I have to make my children go on visits if they don't want to?

    Yes, the children need to go on visits that a Court has ordered, even if they don’t want to go. You should try to find out why the children do not want to visit the other parent and work out any problems together or through counseling. Only in rare cases does the Court limit time spent with the other parent.

  • Do I stop paying child support once my child turns 18?

    Children are eligible for child support until they reach the age of 21, but special criteria apply for the continuance of child support between the ages of 18 and 21. For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school.”

    According to Oregon law, a “child attending school” is one between ages 18 and 21 who regularly attends school, community college, college or university, or regularly attends a course of professional or technical training designed to fit the child for gainful employment. The child must be enrolled in at least one-half the normal course load to be considered a child attending school, and must maintain a “C” average or better.

    Additionally, once a child qualifies as a “child attending school,” child support must be paid directly to the child unless the court orders the money to be distributed otherwise. The child may use the child support at his or her discretion. This means that the child is not required to use the money to pay for tuition, books and supplies, but rather can use the money however he or she best judges that it should be spent.

    Both parents should remain actively involved in their child’s education to ensure that child support is being used optimally for the child’s advancement. Parents should advise their child that he or she only qualifies as a “child attending school” if the above criteria are met. Continued receipt of child support will provide added incentive for children to excel academically, and an opportunity to learn to manage finances wisely.

  • Do support payments end with retirement?

    When a person paying support retires, the obligation of support does not automatically end. However, depending on the financial circumstances of the parties, a court may decide to terminate or reduce support based upon the good-faith retirement of the paying party. Major factors in deciding whether support should be modified are whether the retiring person’s ability to pay support has changed and whether the needs of the receiving party has changed. If by retiring, the paying party’s income significantly decreases, a reduction or termination of support may be appropriate. If the party receiving support is eligible to receive benefits, the court will examine whether those benefits replace the need for support.

    In order to be eligible for a support modification, the retiring party must retire in good-faith. This means that the person retiring cannot do so for the purpose of avoiding his or her support obligation. A court may examine the circumstances of the retirement, including: age, whether the retirement was voluntary or involuntary, work histories, and the financial resources at the time of retirement. A court would probably find that the retirement of a 63-year-old vice-president of marketing was in good-faith, but would more carefully scrutinize the retirement of a 44-year-old computer programmer. A retirement must make sense under the circumstances.

    The most important consideration is how the retirement affects the parties financially. If retirement does not create a significant change in the ability of the retiring party to pay, or if there is no change in need for the receiving party, the paying party may have to pay support out of his or her retirement benefits. If you or a previous spouse are in this situation or will be in the near future, you should discuss the impact of retirement with your attorney.

  • How are taxes affected by child support obligations?

    Child support payments are not treated as income to the party receiving them, nor are they treated as an income deduction to the party making them.

  • How does third-party visitation work?

    The burden is fairly substantial for a third-party to be awarded visitation or custody. The court is generally hesitant to intrude on the rights of a parent to make decisions about their child’s upbringing unless the parent is failing to meet the child’s needs.

    If the biological parents are failing to meet the child’s needs, someone who has a parent/child-like relationship with a child may be granted custody or visitation. This happens most often when a third-party, such as a grandparent, has provided a child with housing, food, education, emotional support, and discipline for a period of time immediately preceding the initiation of the divorce.

    Also, the court may allow those who have an ongoing personal relationship with a child to be awarded visitation or contact rights if it is in the child’s best interest. Extended family members more commonly have an ongoing personal relationship, rather than a parent/child relationship, with a child.

  • How is the amount of child support decided?

    The State of Oregon uses a formula (often referred to as “child support guidelines”) to determine the amount of child support awarded in each case. The guidelines take into account many factors, such as the income of each parent, other children the parents have to support, and work-related day care costs for the children.

  • How long does the child support have to be paid?

    In Oregon, a parent usually must pay child support until the child is eighteen years old. If the child is going to school or job training at least half time and maintains at least a ‘C’ average, the child support can continue to age 21. If the child is physically or mentally handicapped, child support may be extended indefinitely. Child support can end prior to age 18 if the child gets married, joins the military, or becomes legally emancipated.

  • How will the court determine the amount of parenting time the non-custodial parent will receive?

    Each case is unique and the amount of parenting time ordered depends on facts such as the age of the children, time and scheduling requirements (based on the school year, for example) and the distance between the parents’ households.

    Parenting time can be divided in a variety of different ways; A parenting plan may provide for visitation on specified days, weekends, holidays, summer and winter vacations, or another arrangement appropriate under the circumstances.

    Parenting time may be limited in cases involving restraining orders. Most counties in Oregon have proposed visitation schedules which they regularly follow. These may be obtained through you at or the court house.

  • If I have legal custody can I move out of Oregon with my children?

    The Court may include a provision in the custody/parenting time order requiring that neither parent may move more than sixty miles without giving reasonable notice to the other parent and to the Court. However, the court or your spouse may agree that you can move.

  • If my spouse and I are separated, can I get child support?

    Yes. Child support may be requested and awarded as part of a Judgment of Legal Separation.

  • What gets decided in a divorce?

    Once the divorce is granted, a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by a judge. This Judgment will usually include: the date the marriage ends; awards of spousal support; custody of the children; parenting time schedule; which party is responsible for child support, and the amount; which party shall provide health insurance for the children; and how the assets and liabilities are divided.

  • What happens if child support is not paid?

    In Oregon, any occupational or professional license, as well as seasonal hunting and fishing permits, may be suspended if you are at least three months behind, and owe at least $2,500 in back support. This means that your commercial driver’s license, your general driver’s license, a license to practice law or medicine, or even a liquor license could be at stake for suspension.

    The local district attorney’s office can help with child support enforcement. Not only can they help collect child support, they can also move for an administrative modification of support. While the district attorney’s office can be helpful, it is important to remember they do not represent you or your spouse. You may still wish to consult with an attorney to receive advice on your particular situation.

  • What happens when one parent moves away?

    It is increasingly common to see divorced parents who are living some distance apart. Oregon does not place many legal restrictions on custodial parents moving with the children. As a result, the custodial parent may move hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This distance may cause great difficulty in effectuating healthy parenting time. It is important to recognize that these problems are not necessarily legal. Some common practical problems include an inability to facilitate transportation due to financial strain or a lack of work schedule flexibility. The age of the children can also create distance-parenting problems. Younger children tend to benefit by frequency rather than duration of parenting time. Older children are often hesitant to miss planned activities in their home towns in exchange for a visit with their parent.

    Many parents have difficulty accepting the solutions to these practicality problems. A good example is the parent who asks for every other weekend when they are living 300 or more miles away. The best solution is usually found in school schedules, which create extended weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. The non-custodial parent may find that their children’s school schedules create windows for visitation opportunities.

    Finding solutions to distance-parenting problems requires sacrifice by both parents. Both need to find motivation in the realization that the transportation burdens are primarily bore by the children, whose only desire is to be with their moms and dads.

  • What if my spouse and I can't agree on custody of our children?

    If the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding custody to one parent and parenting time to the other, the Court will make a custody award as part of the divorce. The Court’s decision will be based upon the “best interests” of the child. This process may involve mediation or a custody and parenting time evaluation.

  • What is a legal separation?

    A legal separation, either temporary or for an unlimited time, may be granted when the differences between the parties have caused a temporary breakdown of the marriage. Virtually all issues that could arise in a divorce proceeding could also arise in a separation proceeding. In addition, the costs, fees and procedures are usually the same as in a dissolution case. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, and additional divorce proceedings are required if the couple decides to end the marriage.

  • What types of custody arrangements are possible?

    The court will award custody to the mother or father. Only if both parents agree can the court order joint custody. Joint custody does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of time with the children. Both parents will cooperate in making decisions regarding the children’s residence, religion, schooling, medical/dental care, etc.

    A parent who does not have “physical” custody of a child is entitled to reasonable parenting time (visitation) with the child and rights. These rights allow the following authority (ORS §107.154):

    1. To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education.

    2. To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child to the same extent as the custodial parent.

    3. To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for the child and to inspect and receive the child’s medical, dental and psychological records to the same extent as the custodial parent.

    4. To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable.

    5. To apply to be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem or both.

  • Who must pay the child's health care cost that are not covered by insurance?

    The parent with custody must pay the “out-of-pocket” costs unless the child support order states these costs are to be shared with, or paid by, the other parent. The child support guidelines anticipate that the custodial parent will pay the first $250.00 of unreimbursed medical expenses.

  • Who receives parenting time?

    The parent who does not have physical custody will have scheduled parenting time with the children, except in unusual situations.

  • Who will be required to pay child support?

    Both parents have a legal duty to support the children. The Court can require one or both parents to contribute to the support of the children. Using the guidelines established by the State of Oregon, the formula will consider the available resources, primarily incomes of both parents.

  • Who will get custody of the children?

    In a dissolution of marriage proceeding involving children, the main concern of a judge is the best interest and welfare of the children. The property rights and the welfare of adults involved are secondary. The following factors, among others, influence the judge’s decision on custody (ORS §107.137):

    1. The emotional ties between the child and other family members.

    2. The interest of the parties in, and attitude toward, the child.

    3. The desirability of continuing an existing relationship.

    4. The abuse of one parent by the other.

    5. The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court.

    6. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.

    Oregon law does not discriminate between mothers and fathers when determining custody.

  • Can I stop allowing parenting time if the other parent stops paying child support?

    No. You must give the other parent the parenting time ordered even if child support is not being paid.

  • Can I stop paying child support if the other parent won't let me visit my child?

    No. You can go to Court and ask to end the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but you cannot end payments without the Court’s permission. The Court does not like to stop child support payments and it will allow support to be stopped only if there is proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time.

  • Can the child support order include insurance coverage?

    A parent may be ordered to pay for the children’s health insurance if it is available through work, a union, or a group. The cost of the insurance coverage may increase or decrease the child support payment, depending on which parent is providing the insurance.

  • Do I stop paying child support once my child turns 18?

    Children are eligible for child support until they reach the age of 21, but special criteria apply for the continuance of child support between the ages of 18 and 21. For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school.”

    According to Oregon law, a “child attending school” is one between ages 18 and 21 who regularly attends school, community college, college or university, or regularly attends a course of professional or technical training designed to fit the child for gainful employment. The child must be enrolled in at least one-half the normal course load to be considered a child attending school, and must maintain a “C” average or better.

    Additionally, once a child qualifies as a “child attending school,” child support must be paid directly to the child unless the court orders the money to be distributed otherwise. The child may use the child support at his or her discretion. This means that the child is not required to use the money to pay for tuition, books and supplies, but rather can use the money however he or she best judges that it should be spent.

    Both parents should remain actively involved in their child’s education to ensure that child support is being used optimally for the child’s advancement. Parents should advise their child that he or she only qualifies as a “child attending school” if the above criteria are met. Continued receipt of child support can provide added incentive for children to excel academically, and an opportunity to learn to manage finances wisely.

  • Do support payments end with retirement?

    When a person paying support retires, the obligation of support does not automatically end. However, depending on the financial circumstances of the parties, a court may decide to terminate or reduce support based upon the good-faith retirement of the paying party. Major factors in deciding whether support should be modified are whether the retiring person’s ability to pay support has changed and whether the needs of the receiving party has changed. If by retiring, the paying party’s income significantly decreases, a reduction or termination of support may be appropriate. If the party receiving support is eligible to receive benefits, the court will examine whether those benefits replace the need for support.

    In order to be eligible for a support modification, the retiring party must retire in good-faith. This means that the person retiring cannot do so for the purpose of avoiding his or her support obligation. A court may examine the circumstances of the retirement, including: age, whether the retirement was voluntary or involuntary, work histories, and the financial resources at the time of retirement. A court would probably find that the retirement of a 63-year-old vice-president of marketing was in good-faith, but would more carefully scrutinize the retirement of a 44-year-old computer programmer. A retirement must make sense under the circumstances.

    The most important consideration is how the retirement affects the parties financially. If retirement does not create a significant change in the ability of the retiring party to pay, or if there is no change in need for the receiving party, the paying party may have to pay support out of his or her retirement benefits. If you or a previous spouse are in this situation or will be in the near future, you should discuss the impact of retirement with your attorney.

  • How are taxes affected by child support obligations?

    Child support payments are not treated as income to the party receiving them, nor are they treated as an income deduction to the party making them.

  • How does third-party visitation work?

    The burden is fairly substantial for a third-party to be awarded visitation or custody. The court is generally hesitant to intrude on the rights of a parent to make decisions about their child’s upbringing unless the parent is failing to meet the child’s needs.

    If the biological parents are failing to meet the child’s needs, someone who has a parent/child-like relationship with a child may be granted custody or visitation. This happens most often when a third-party, such as a grandparent, has provided a child with housing, food, education, emotional support, and discipline for a period of time immediately preceding the initiation of the divorce.

    Also, the court may allow those who have an ongoing personal relationship with a child to be awarded visitation or contact rights if it is in the child’s best interest. Extended family members more commonly have an ongoing personal relationship, rather than a parent/child relationship, with a child.

  • How is the amount of child support decided?

    The State of Oregon uses a formula (often referred to as “child support guidelines”) to determine the amount of child support awarded in each case. The guidelines take into account many factors, such as the income of each parent, other children the parents have to support, and work-related day care costs for the children.

Custody FAQs
  • What types of custody arrangements are possible?

    The court will award custody to the mother or father. Only if both parents agree will the court order joint custody. Joint parenting time does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of time with the children. Both parents will cooperate in making decisions regarding the children’s residence, religion, schooling, medical/dental care, etc. A parent who does not have “physical” custody of a child is entitled to reasonable parenting time (visitation) with the child as well as other rights, including access to the child’s medical and educational records.

  • What if my spouse and I can't agree on the custody of our children?

    If the parents are unable to agree to joint custody and on which parent should have sole custody, the Court will make a custody award as part of the divorce. The Court’s decision will be based upon the “best interests” of the child. This process may involve mediation or a custody and parenting time evaluation.

     

  • If I have sole legal custody can I move out of state with my children?

    In Oregon, the Court may include a provision in the custody/parenting time order requiring that neither parent move more than sixty miles without giving reasonable notice to the other parent and to the Court. However, the court or your spouse may agree that you can move. The fact that one parent has sole custody does not give that parent an automatic right to move the child out of state. 

    In Washington, the primary parent may give notice of his/her intention to relocate, and unless the non-moving parent can show the move would be of serious detriment to the child, the move will be permitted. In other words, in Washington the presumption is that the primary parent’s decision to relocate will be in the best interests of child, and so relocations are often granted over the non-moving parents objections. 

  • Who will get custody of the children?

    In a dissolution of marriage proceeding involving children, the main concern of a judge is the best interests and welfare of the children. The property rights and the welfare of adults involved are secondary. Oregon law does not discriminate between mothers and fathers when determining custody.

Child Support FAQs
Visitation FAQs
Same-Sex Marriage FAQ
  • How is same-sex marriage different from "traditional" (different gender) marriage?

    Aside from the obvious same-gender vs. opposite-gender distinction, in places where same-sex marriage is legal, there is no legal difference between the two.

    The distinctions mainly arise when dealing with states or jurisdictions that do not recognize same-sex marriages that are legal in other states. These differences are important because certain rights and benefits of marriage that apply in one state may not apply in another state. For instance, pension survivor benefits can be greatly impacted depending on which jurisdiction a same-sex married couple resides in. For information regarding a specific state’s laws regarding same-sex marriage, speak with your attorney.

  • How is same-sex marriage different from a [registered] domestic partnership?

    Assuming we’re discussing a registered domestic partnership as under Oregon law, there are no legal differences between a registered domestic partnership and a same-sex marriage. This took affect in early 2014 when Federal Judge McShane ordered that same-sex marriage is allowed under Oregon law.

    Under Oregon law, registered domestic partnerships are granted all the legal rights and responsibilities of traditional marriage. The difference between the two largely rests in other states’ and jurisdictions’ recognition of an Oregon registered domestic partnership as a valid legal status. Whether a jurisdiction recognizes an Oregon registered domestic partnership will affect which rights and benefits a couple receives while in that jurisdiction. These rights include but are not limited to: access to retirement and pension benefits, hospital visitation rights, and parental rights. For example, under Oregon law, registered domestic partners have rights to receive potential custodial and parenting time rights if the partnership is dissolved. If another jurisdiction does not recognize the Oregon domestic partnership as valid, those rights may not exist in that other jurisdiction.

    *Note – registered domestic partnerships should not be confused with unregistered domestic partnerships. Unregistered domestic partnerships are a common law construct (i.e. non-statutory) that can be between same-sex couples or couples of different genders. They are entirely fact-derived circumstances and do not involve formal paperwork with the state. Unregistered domestic partnerships are, essentially, Oregon’s answer to common-law marriage.

  • Does the federal government recognize my same-sex marriage?

    With the June 2013 rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, any same-sex marriage validly licensed under State law is recognized by the federal government.

    As with many aspects of same-sex marriage, there are still certain jurisdictional issues to consider. Some federal agencies have differing standards pertaining to how certain benefits are paid out – the complications arise when different agencies use different distinctions for “place of marriage” vs. “place of residence” when doling out federal benefits. This area is quite complicated, and it would be advisable to consult with an expert in federal retirement benefits if you think that you may be entitled to federal benefits.

  • Will other states recognize my same-sex marriage?

    That depends on the state you’re in. The recognition of same-sex marriages is all over the map from state to state. For example: some states that do not license same sex marriage do recognize valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. It would behoove a same-sex couple to consult with an attorney in a jurisdiction to which they are considering relocating prior to a move. This will allow them to be as certain as possible regarding their legal rights, status, and obligations in a new jurisdiction.

Estate Planning FAQ
  • What is an Estate? Do I have one?

    Yes, you have an estate. Your Estate is basically the property you own.

  • What is Estate Planning?

    Estate Planning is the act of determining what happens to your estate after you’re gone. An estate plan can be a simple two page will or an intricate web of multiple trusts.

  • When is the right time for me to think about estate planning?

    You should think about estate planning after any major life changing event: a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or change in employment. You should also rewrite your estate plan if it has been more than seven years since you last revised your plan.

  • When should you change your estate plan?

    After a divorce or marriage, the birth of children or grandchildren, relocation, or a change in financial circumstances. Additionally after a change in the code, such as the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act which changed over 800 sections of code.

  • Who should have an estate plan, will or trust?

    Everyone! There is an unfortunate, widespread misconception that only the wealthy need an Estate Plan. In fact, an Estate Plan is for anyone who wishes to provide for his or her survivors. If you pass away without a will or other Estate Plan, the laws of the state take over, and these laws may not reflect your wishes or provide for the ones you love.

  • Why is it important to use an estate planning professional to draft a will?

    Estate planning documents are only as good as the assistance, advice and instruction you receive with them. An estate planning professional will be able to ensure your assets are titled correctly, trusts are properly managed, and that your will adequately communicates your wishes.

  • When is it too late to draft a new will or other estate planning document?

    To draft a will you must have testamentary capacity, which means an ability to understand what it means to create a will, what property you own, who would naturally be your beneficiaries, and the terms of the document when you sign. You can be elderly and you can be sick, but as long as you have capacity and there is no undue influence placed on you, you can draft a new estate plan.