Comprehensive or Essential Estate Planning Options: Full-Service or Legacy Nesting

Comprehensive Estate Planning

With our comprehensive 3 meeting estate planning process, you benefit from highly personalized, professional legal counseling and advice throughout each critically important stage of the process during scheduled meetings with us, online or in the office.

  1. Peace of Mind Planning Session – Review your existing plan or your unique family and financial circumstances with us, ask all your questions, and receive answers and personalized counseling and advice to help you design the best estate plan, making the best choices, for you and your loved ones, including tax planning where appropriate.  If necessary, we can continue the discussion with a separate Plan Design Meeting and explore advanced tax planning and other estate planning options, invite your other professional advisors into the design process, and delve deeper before completing your plan design to proceed to the next step. 
  2. Signing Ceremony – Review all your legal documents with us, ask and receive answers to all your questions, and sign your comprehensive estate planning legal documents into effect with assurance it will work in practice when needed.
  3. Plan Presentation Meeting – Receive your completed, organized estate plan with practical guidance and specific advice about aligning your asset ownership and beneficiary designations with your legal documents, properly implementing your plan, communicating with the people you trust to help under your plan, and practical guidance about actually using your plan when necessary. 

Protect yourself and your family with a comprehensive, organized estate plan designed to:

  • put your legal and financial affairs in order while you still can – do not wait until there is an accident, an illness, or a financial emergency
  • ensure that your medical and end of life wishes are respectfully followed and less likely to cause your loved ones additional pain or stress – do not leave it to them to work it out and decide during a crisis 
  • appoint temporary emergency guardians and permanent legal guardians for your minor children so they never have to spend time in the care of strangers through the Department of Children and Families ( DCF ) or in a foster care home
  • provide practical, parental guidance for your children’s caregivers in the event of an emergency to provide your children emotional stability and comfort during an otherwise scary time
  • provide practical, financial, and emotional gifts, guidance, and support for your growing or grown children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, siblings, or other surviving loved ones
  • provide guidance and security for your loved ones, no matter what challenging circumstances may lay ahead so their trauma and grief are not compounded by other, avoidable stresses
  • provide for the continued, loving care of your dog, cat, or other pets if you are ever unable to care for them yourself
  • spare your surviving loved ones from having to go through the time-consuming, public, expensive Probate Court process just to be able to access information about or gain access to your financial accounts
  • structure the way your children or other beneficiaries receive their inheritance so  it helps rather than harms them, regardless of what may be going on in their lives at that time
  • reduce the amount of taxes your survivors will have to pay to whichever government is in office at that time, & provide more for your surviving loved ones or leave a lasting impact to charitable organizations you choose to support instead

We will work with your other trusted, professional advisors including your financial advisor or wealth manager and accountant to provide you with a coordinated, team approach to your financial, legal, and tax planning. Rest assured, with DGVE law, your best interests always come first. 

Schedule your FREE, New Client Informational & Intake Call now to learn more & get started. We look forward to providing you priceless peace of mind.

Legacy Nesting™️ - Essential Estate Planning

At DGVE law, we offer all our clients right-sized estate plans because one size does not fit all. For those with relatively straightforward family & financial situations, our Legacy Nesting™️ estate plans can make the process of getting your ducks in a row quick, convenient, and easy at an exceptional value.

Legacy Nesting™️ Estate Plans

Flying the Nest

This plan is best for:

  • young adults (about ages 18 -28) going to college or graduate school or entering careers
  • who are not married
  • do not have children
  • do not own real estate & have very limited assets (about $25,000 or less, excluding one car)

Our Flying the Nest Plan lets you rest assured that the people you trust will be able to help with medical care or financial management in the event of an accident or emergency.

Filling the Nest

This plan is best for:

  • individuals or couples who are U.S. citizens
  • with minor children (from expecting newborns to young adults)
  • less than $2,000,000 total in assets including the full value of all:
    • Life Insurance Policies (through an employer or individually owned)
    • Retirement Savings Accounts (all types, including 401k, IRA, 403b)
    • Home Equity or Other Real Property Ownership (Fair Market Value less any outstanding Mortgage loans)
    • Bank Accounts (checking, savings, money market, CDs)
    • Investment / Taxable Brokerage Accounts (non-retirement)
    • Tangible Personal Property (jewelry, artwork, antiques, furniture, furnishings, automobiles, etc.)

Our Filling the Nest Plan lets you rest assured that your children have legally appointed guardians to take care of them in the event of an accident or emergency.

Empty Nest

This plan is best for:

  • individuals or couples who are U.S. citizens
  • whose children or other beneficiaries are all legal adults
  • have less than $2,000,000 total in assets including the full value of all:
    • Life Insurance Policies (through an employer or individually owned)
    • Retirement Savings Accounts (all types, including 401k, IRA, 403b)
    • Home Equity or Other Real Property Ownership (Fair Market Value less any outstanding Mortgage loans)
    • Bank Accounts (checking, savings, money market, CDs)
    • Investment / Taxable Brokerage Accounts (non-retirement)
    • Tangible Personal Property (jewelry, artwork, antiques, furniture, furnishings, automobiles, etc.

Our Empty Nest Plan lets you rest assured that the people you trust will take care of you in the event of an accident or emergency, and everything you’ve worked hard to acquire during your lifetime will benefit the people you want after you’re gone.

Service Comparison

Compare Other
Estate Plans

Compare Other
Estate Plans

Our Legacy Nesting™️ Estate Plans

Our Comprehensive Estate Plans

The basics: Health Care Proxy, Financial Durable Power of Attorney, & Will (maybe also a Trust)

Caution: there is a wide range of quality and comprehensiveness between documents with these same names depending on the lawyer (or document forms company) that prepares them.

Beyond the basics: separate appointments of guardians for minor children (emergency & permanent); more specific health care directives including HIPAA Authorizations to access medical records and manage insurance claims, Living Wills to prevent indefinite maintenance on life support, & Memorandum clarifying your wishes regarding final disposition of bodily remains (cremation or burial) & memorial service wishes to prevent angst or infighting amongst your surviving loved ones.

There is legal necessity and then there is practical use of these legal documents when it matters in the real world.

Signing Ceremony to review your plan with you, answer all your questions, & ensure your comfort with your estate plan before facilitating & overseeing the proper, formal execution of all your legal documents according to Massachusetts legal requirements (including Notary Public and Witness services)

Without proper, formal execution, the legal documents may not work as intended (or at all).

Electronic copy of your complete estate plan, as formally signed and executed into legal force and effect. Safekeeping for your Original Will that will have to go to the Probate Court one day so it isn’t lost and nothing happens to invalidate it (like writing on it or destroying it).

Emergency cards for your wallet to provide immediate, worldwide access to your legal documents appointing guardians for your children & health care agents for you in case of accident or emergency

DGVE law Asset Organizer with general advice and guidance to designate beneficiaries of your accounts or fund your Revocable Living Trust

DGVE law Asset Organizer assembled for you with a personalized Asset Inventory including specific advice and guidance about your unique assets and how to properly designate beneficiaries of your accounts or fund your trust(s)

Complete your estate plan design conveniently online, on your own time, with general guidance throughout to help you make decisions on  your own, without consulting directly with the Attorney.

Meet with the Attorney online or in the office for your Peace of Mind Planning Session to answer all your questions, address your concerns, learn how the law and taxes apply to your unique family & financial circumstances and planning goals, and receive personalized, legal counseling and advice about your estate planning options and design your custom estate plan to best suit your needs and planning goals

Minimize gift and estate taxes that would otherwise be payable to Massachusetts and federal taxing authorities with specially designed tax planning as part of your estate plan.

Meet with us, online or in the office, for your Plan Presentation Meeting to review and discuss practical implementation, use, and updating of all parts of your estate plan. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask all your questions and receive personalized guidance about discussing the plan with your family members, & how exactly to retitle or reregister your financial accounts or change your beneficiary designations to make sure your assets properly align with your legal documents so your plan actually works in practice.

Review and approve letters we prepare and send to your trusted health care agents, financial agents, & guardians of your children to provide them a general overview of their important roles in your estate plan & let them know they can turn to us for assistance whenever necessary.

Opportunity to record a casual Heart-to-Heart Conversation with us to leave a lasting legacy for your surviving loved ones for generations to come. Explain your plan, your hopes and dreams for them for the future, and preserve priceless memories.

Authorize us to communicate and consult with your other financial advisor or wealth manager, accountant, or other professional advisors to provide you a coordinated approach to your comprehensive legal, financial, and tax planning and practical implementation and have your team do as much of the necessary work for you as possible.

Benefit from ongoing access to our team, after your plan delivery, for answers to your questions about your estate plan, asset alignment and trust funding. Communicate with us as you complete your outstanding tasks and receive assistance updating your Asset Inventory. Receive a gold star on completion of all outstanding tasks (really)!

Make minor changes or updates to your estate planning legal documents within 3 months of signing them into effect at no additional charge. We want you to make the best decisions you can quickly, then rest easy knowing that if you need to change your mind, there is an easy way to do that without worry. Examples of minor changes include: changing the people you’ve named in or the order in which you’ve named them under your estate plan; adding a new baby by name and date of birth; changing some of your health care or end of life wishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! You have an estate! It sounds fancy, but an estate plan is just a plan to care for the people you want in your life with whatever assets you have. We happily serve, with equal respect, clients with relatively small to very high net worth estates and with very simple to very complex family circumstances. Regardless of what you have, you need an estate plan to legally appoint people you trust to take care of everything if there is ever a time when you can’t, and to decide what should happen with all your stuff after you die. At the very least, every legal adult needs a core estate plan (Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy).

If you don’t have an estate plan, the state has a one-size-fits-all plan for you, your family, and your assets.  First, your loved ones will have to gather all your financial details to submit to the Family and Probate Court.  Then a Judge will decide who should be in charge of your assets, who should be legal guardian of your children if they are minors, and who should get all of your assets when.

Your loved ones can try to do this all themselves, but it is a lot of very detailed and time-consuming work, especially when people are busy trying to grieve a loss. They can hire a lawyer to help them, but the costs are often greater than if you had had a comprehensive, detailed, organized estate plan in place.

Those with larger estates can better afford to spend money on estate administration fees as the remaining assets will still be sufficient to provide comfort or a solid foundation for their loved ones.  Those with smaller estates have more to lose by not having their affairs in order to protect and provide for their loved ones.

A solid estate plan combines financial, legal, and possibly tax planning. Depending on your unique circumstances and planning goals, we can counsel and advise you about relevant options to make sure your family is as financially secure as possible and help you leave them a legacy, instead of a financial and practical mess.  

For personalized legal counseling and specific advice, you will want to meet with our lawyer online or in the office to discuss your concerns, evaluate your risks, learn about different options to try to protect against those, and determine which are best suited to your specific circumstances.

There are significant practical and tax-related considerations to benefitting charities and leaving an impactful legacy. There are also potential pitfalls and traps for the unwary when it comes to charitable giving. You will want to discuss your unique planning goals and charitable intentions with our attorney to receive specific legal counseling and advice to help you determine the best ways and times to give money or other assets to charity.

You probably have a lot more than you think. Most people, especially younger families just filling their nests with mortgages and high child care related costs, tend to focus on cash sitting in a bank account or readily accessible in an investment account. They forget to consider the value of all the other assets they have that would be available for their loved ones, including life insurance policy proceeds, retirement accounts, and even real estate sale proceeds. A comprehensive estate plan isn’t just for the very wealthy. Every legal adult needs a right-sized estate plan to make legal plans for themselves, their families, and their assets, no matter what happens or when.

You absolutely do not need to make all the decisions in advance before you get started! That’s why we’re here, to provide you with legal counseling and advice to help you know how to make the best decisions for you and your family. In fact, based on many years of practical experience guiding thousands of others through this process, we actually recommend that you do not try to figure out all the details first.  In our experience, you will often end up changing your mind once you have a little more decision to help you choose. Our goal is to educate you enough for you to make the best possible decisions for your own family based on your own finances. The only decision you need to make now is to get started. Contact us now and take that first step toward enjoying genuine peace of mind.

Legal fees for Wills, Trusts, and Estate Plans vary widely based on geography and cost of living (which is why the fees nationally tend to serve as no real basis for practical comparison), the type of estate plan (for example a simple, Will-based plan vs. a complex plan with multiple types of trusts and tax planning), the quality and comprehensiveness of the plan (attorneys differ in their approach to planning with some preferring a more standardized approach with fewer documents that they can quickly and easily replicate with little variation vs. a more comprehensive and customized plan with a strong focus on practical use of the legal documents when put to the test in the real world), and the practical and professional experience and abilities of the attorney creating them and the team of support staff assisting them. 

At the risk of sounding like a lawyer, the fee you pay for your estate plan likely depends on a combination of:

  1. Your Plan – What type of Will or Trust do you need or want?  Will your plan include tax planning or is that not necessary?  How do you want your children or other beneficiaries to receive their inheritance and when? Do any of your beneficiaries have special needs or require special consideration? Do you have any special real property or other assets you want to preserve for the next generations? Do you want custom tailored advice and the ability to ask lots of questions, receiving highly personalized advice about your personal goals and financial assets? Would you like help making sure your plan works in practice, not just on paper? Do you want to work with professionals you can meet with in person and talk with directly for ongoing advice? Would you prefer to just be told what you need based on a quick survey of your family and finances and not have to make so many decisions? Is your lawyer just filling in blanks on standard forms? Would you prefer a balance of legal counseling and a more DIY approach like our Legacy Nesting™️ estate plans for now? 
  2. Your Attorney’s Education & Experience – At DGVE law, estate planning and administration is all we do, all day, every day, and have for over 15 years. Massachusetts does not offer board certifications or specializations in estate planning as some other states do.  An attorney may offer estate planning legal services immediately upon graduating law school and passing the bar exam to be licensed to practice law or after many years of related, ongoing, continuing legal education, training, and experience in this field of law. There is no prohibition on holding oneself out as offer estate planning services even if a lawyer concentrates almost exclusively in another area of the law. A lawyer can practice for years in one area of the law, then pivot to offering estate planning legal services instead. Although it is definitely possible to learn a new practice area, there is a lot more to it with estate planning than some recognize at first. As you choose an attorney to help you protect your family and your assets, it is well worth considering the attorney’s relative experience in this highly specialized, technical area of the law.
  3. Your Attorney’s Support Staff, Labor, & Overhead Costs – Increasingly, as we are all responding to the pressures of inflation and higher costs of labor and overhead within a global economy where we can easily work remotely from anywhere, attorneys are hiring paralegals and attorneys located in other countries where labor costs are significantly less than here in Massachusetts. At DGVE law, we work with some remote contractors for non-legal assistance, but all our clients’ highly confidential legal work is done by our team working together in our offices here in Massachusetts. You can rest assured that if you call, come to meet with us, or visit our office, you will see the same people who are handling your confidential information and working on your estate plan. Of course we can work remotely from time to time as necessary, but we made the decision to keep our clients’ confidential information and custom legal work “in house.”

How Our Fees Compare:

DGVE law’s professional legal fees are neither the highest nor the lowest around us in Massachusetts. Our fees are carefully calculated based on the type of plan you choose and designed to provide you with the best client service and highest quality legal work accordingly. To compare our legal fees with others, we strongly recommend you undertake an apples to apples comparison. Our comparison chart is designed to help you do that easier.

Transparency, Flat Fees, and Billing Practices

We have many years of practical, professional experience to know what it will take for our team to complete your estate plan, so once we determine the type of plan you desire, we are able to set the appropriate flat fee to accomplish that scope of legal services for you.

To ensure transparency, as you proceed with your estate plan design, if choices you make might affect your fee, we alert you to that so you can make an informed decision before proceeding. We also provide you guidance about how to avoid unnecessary, additional fees for additional work. We discuss and agree to all flat fees and billing policies clearly up front before we begin work, so there are never any surprises. 

We understand the necessary investments of time and money required to create and implement your family’s estate plan. To help you prioritize this critically important safeguard, we accept credit card payments and offer financing options.

We provide our clients with guidance about how to follow our carefully designed processes to stay within the set flat fees to which we agree up front and avoid any unnecessary, additional legal fees for increasing the scope of services required to complete the work.

For examples, by:

  • reviewing all correspondence we send you so you know what to expect and how to prepare for each step of the process
  • completing your intake or plan design worksheets as thoroughly and accurately as possible
  • keeping scheduled appointments
  • adhering to appointment start and end times
  • responding promptly to our requests for additional information or to confirm details regarding your plan design choices, ensuring accuracy of the information you provide us, &
  • following directions about how to provide us requested information

you will help keep the process of completing your estate plan moving along smoothly, avoiding both unnecessary delays and any additional costs to provide you with the legal services necessary to complete your estate plan.

We offer a Free Informational and Intake Call with a member of our team to:

  • answer your general questions
  • determine whether we are able to assist you with your matter
  • assess whether it is likely to be a good fit for us to work together, ensuring that we are aligned in terms of expectations around our processes and fees
  • advise you whether you would be best suited to proceed with our Comprehensive, 3 Meeting Process or one of our Legacy Nesting™️ estate plans
  • help you get started

For more information, please visit the Fees and Payments page of our website.

Although it is a wonderful feeling to complete your estate plan, it is definitely not a once in a lifetime, set it and forget it task. Your estate plan should not remain locked away somewhere completely out of sight or largely forgotten.  It is, after all, the plan for your family and finances and you need to make sure it keeps up with you over time.

Annual Reviews on Your Own

We recommend you “dust off” and review your estate plan on your own at least once a year, and whenever your family and financial situations change during your lifetime. To make that easier for you, we provide you with a simplified summary and sometimes a diagram of your plan so you don’t have to wade through hundreds of pages of legal documents just to review the basics. You can always look back at the plan design information you provided to us as well, but keep in mind that any last minute changes you made may not be reflected there so look at your actual legal documents in your physical Estate Planning Portfolio or in the electronic replica we provided you of the same.

3 Year Reviews with Us

Attorneys differ on their advice about this, but based on our personal, practical, and professional experience, we strongly recommend you schedule a Review Meeting with us, online or in the office, at least every 3 years to make sure that your estate plan remains current, reflecting your wishes and adapting as necessary to changes in the laws or related to your health, family, or finances.

When we meet, we will help you identify any changes that may require updates to your estate plan.  We can help you make sure everything remains organized, current, accessible, and ready to use in practice whenever necessary. At a minimum, you want to be sure your financial, General Durable Power of Attorney remains current so that banks and others will honor those legal documents when necessary without excessive concern that you signed the documents too long ago to rely on them comfortably. You will also want to ensure that your emergency contacts for your health care agents and guardians of your minor children are readily accessible anywhere, anytime, through current legal documents securely stored and easily retrievable right from your wallet cards.

Minor changes generally involve minor legal fees. More significant updates and changes may involve more significant fees, but we discount fees for our clients with whom we have an existing relationship and background information and legal documents to use as a starting point.

To schedule your Review Meeting, contact us by web chat, text or call to 781-740-0848 or email to info@dgvelaw.com

You can always contact us for assistance! Generally, to avoid confusion, provide you with the best service, and ensure your wishes are properly addressed, it is best to start with a Review Meeting to discuss all the circumstances and options for updating your estate plan. 

To schedule your Review Meeting, contact us by web chat, text or call to 781-740-0848 or email to info@dgvelaw.com

Absolutely! As long as you have capacity and are alive & well enough to do so, you can always amend your estate plan.  However, adding in tax planning is not a minor amendment. That would require significant revisions to your legal documents.  We would advise a comprehensive Restatement of your trust to avoid confusion and practical difficulties with administration.  The fees for that type of change to your estate plan would more significant. Therefore, if you are concerned about tax planning now, it would likely be better for you practically and financially to pursue more comprehensive planning initially by going through our comprehensive, 3 Meeting Process instead. We accept credit card payments and offer the opportunity for financing so you can choose the type of plan that best serves your family now with certainty regarding the fees and the ability to pay the cost of your investment however works best for you.

As you work through your estate plan design, if you determine that it is in your best interests to proceed with our Comprehensive 3 Meeting Estate Planning Process instead, we can always amend our Engagement Agreement to reflect that change in process and in fees. We would apply the fees you already paid as a credit toward your total flat fee once we determined and agreed to that revised scope of services and total flat fee. Contact us any time for assistance.