The Five Questions We Are Frequently Asked


The Five Questions We Are Frequently Asked

At Sechler Law Firm, we pride ourselves in being an Education first law firm. We endeavor to provide you with continuous free education with our free resources and workshops. Based on feedback from our clients, they understand that lawyers think about stuff a little bit differently. This got me thinking that I should share our thoughts as attorneys. 

In law school, we are told that estate planning is classified as transactional law. This means that you hire the lawyer to help you with whatever the issue is, and once done, it’s the end of the relationship. However, it is my belief that estate planning when done properly, is not a transaction. You are our clients, and we look at this as a long term relationship. We facilitate the relationship by offering an ongoing membership program that we call our Red Wagon Club. There are 100 families around Pittsburgh who are in the Red Wagon Club, and this group meets regularly for educational workshops and fun events. This whole community of people is committed to wanting a better future for their families, and want to keep their estate plan up to date. 

Estate Planning is Complicated

The type of work we do typically transcends the simple Will scenario, where folks want to leave stuff to the kids. We focus more on asset protection and we do estate planning the way I believe it should be done. It involves more complex planning, because estate planning is complicated. This is why we offer workshops to provide the education you need. We are committed to doing good estate planning for our clients which is not quick and easy. The simplest document that we offer to families, is not the best solution. The reason being that the problems that most people face are complicated, and they need complicated solutions. We teach you all you need to know, to choose a good estate plan, when you come to our workshops. 

We realize that while you may go through our series of classes and you understand what we’re doing in 2024, you may not remember the details of your estate plan four years from now. If we don’t communicate with you, or if you don’t come to our events, but I see you again in 2028, you may find it difficult to explain your estate plan. That is why we have this year long sequence of education programs and fun events. By doing so, we can keep you updated when the law changes, because you will likely need to update your documents. This is all included in our Red Wagon Club membership, which is our commitment to our clients. 

Having asked our managing attorney, Amy Rees, what the top five questions that people ask us are, she confirmed the 5 most frequently asked questions. And we’re sharing our first question and answer with you today!

Question #:1: Do I need a will or do I need a trust? 

This question is like asking which is better – a hammer or a screwdriver? Neither is better than the other. It really depends on what you want to accomplish. Wills primarily answer the question of who gets my stuff when I pass away. They will not avoid the probate process, or save on post death administration fees. Wills can’t protect assets from long term care and they also can’t be used for tax planning. Deciding whether a Will is sufficient for you depends on what your goals are. Once we teach people about Wills, most people decide that a Will is insufficient in their situation. Many people want to use a trust, to be able to accomplish something the Will can’t do. 

You are probably well aware of the fact that long term care is your biggest financial threat. We take calls weekly from people who tell us their mom or dad is in the nursing home. They want to know how we can help them to can protect assets. It is preferable to solve these problems ahead of time, rather than dealing with a crisis situation. This is why I urge people to plan for long term care and to protect assets. You should also plan for how you’re going to receive your care. If you want to accomplish more than just answering the question of who gets your stuff,  you really should use a trust. 

Check back tomorrow for our next question and answer.