- By supernovamommy
- 30 September, 2012
- Comments Off
The Importance of a Legal Will: Spotlight on The Law Office of Rebecca Geller
1) What are some of the legal services offered by The Law Office of Rebecca Geller?
As the mom of two young boys, I understand the craziness of parents’ schedules and strive to make wills, trusts, and guardianship documents accessible for everyday families. The Law Office of Rebecca Geller works with families in Virginia and D.C. to draft wills, trusts, guardianship and power of attorney documents, living wills, and customized legal estate plans. We work with your schedules and offer phone meetings with clients in the evenings after your kids go to bed — as well as during the day — to accommodate busy schedules.
We also serve as general legal counsel to small businesses, especially woman-owned or family businesses. We help businesses get started, draft or revise operating agreements, client contracts, vendor or contractor agreements, non-compete/confidentiality provisions, trademark application, and other legal needs.
2) Why is it so important for families to have a legal will in place?
No one likes to think about what would happen to our kids if something were to happen to us. We are supermom, we are invincible, right? But it’s just like life insurance — plan for the unexpected and you will have the peace of mind to know that your children will be taken care of if the unimaginable were to happen. By choosing to not have a will or to not make the decision about guardians for your children, parents don’t realize that their indecision is actually a decision. Families who don’t have a will are taking an unnecessary risk that their children could end up in the system or the court could appoint a guardian who does not share the parents’ values.
3) What are some things to consider when making a will?
Choosing a guardian(s) for your children is one of the hardest decisions you have to make. Sometimes spouses do not agree on who they want to be the guardian – or they worry that they will offend a relative by not selecting them as guardian. I work with many couples who cannot agree and I help them work through this decision. However, this is not the time to worry about whether you will offend someone — your job is to choose a guardian who shares your parenting philosophies and will provide the best care for your children.
A guardian doesn’t have to be a relative, you can also choose your friends. Do not delay in making a will because you can’t decide who would be a guardian. By NOT making the decision about guardians, you ARE making a decision and your decision is to leave it to the court to decide — which may result in a guardian neither parent would ever want to raise your children. I can help you and your spouse with this very difficult decision so that you have a plan in place and peace of mind.
4) Tell us the most frequently asked questions that you answer for clients about legal estate planning.
I am asked these 3 questions most frequently:
FAQ 1: ”We want to save money. Can I create my own will through a “do it yourself” legal website rather than hiring a lawyer?” This is like diagnosing and treating a major, life-altering disease through a medical website and never actually seeing your doctor. Most people would see a doctor, right? This is the same thing. In September 2012, Consumer Reports released a scathing report about the inadequacy of legal “do it yourself” websites for writing wills and encouraged consumers to hire attorneys. Many of the online tools create documents that do not actually accomplish what you hope they will accomplish. Many people say “why does it matter, who would ever challenge my will?” You’d be amazed how frequently wills are challenged unexpectedly. Why take a risk with your children’s future?
FAQ 2: ”We aren’t rich and have very little assets, why do we need a will or trust?” For starters, most families have more assets than they realize. Do you have life insurance policies? Do you have retirement accounts? Real estate? All of these assets are considered part of your estate. Don’t you want to ensure that your teenager would use the proceeds from a $250,000 life insurance policy to pay for college rather than designer clothes and a fancy car? Legal estate planning documents are essential to make sure that your estate is used for the purposes you want, and not a flashy sports car (unless of course, that’s what you want for your child!)
FAQ 3: “I have never worked with an attorney before and am not comfortable with the legal system. How do I know which attorney to use?” One of the reasons I started my own law practice is to make the legal system accessible and affordable to everyday families. One of my recent clients recommended me to her friends and said: “Rebecca Geller was patient in taking the time to explain the differences between regular wills, trusts, power of attorney choices, etc. She was able to make recommendations that best fit our lifestyle and budget. She was timely, responsive and a pleasure to work with. I have already recommended her to a few friends looking for similar services!”
5) How do families go about updating their will through the years? I recommend that families update their wills when a life event occurs (new baby, someone passes away, etc); if your financial situation changes (you change jobs, inherit money, etc); or every 2-3 years. The tax code and laws change regularly so it is important to keep your documents updated. We update wills on an hourly billable rate. Most updates are relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive.
6) How do do Super NoVA Mommy readers get started in writing a will?
I am happy to offer a free initial phone consult to all families in VA and D.C. who come via Super Nova Mommy as well as a $250 gift certificate to be used for a will and legal estate plan (good through October 15, 2012). Just email Rebecca Geller at RGeller@rebeccagellerlaw.com or call my direct line 703.679.7067 to schedule your free initial phone consult.
7) Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?
As a mom, I am passionate about working with women-owned businesses, especially “momtrepreneurs.” I serve as general legal counsel for many small, local businesses. My best advice is to make sure your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed, otherwise you could risk losing your entire business. Have you trademarked your business to protect the business name and brand? Invest the money to make sure that you have legal contracts to use for clients, vendors, contractors, or employees. Are you operating your business from your home? Make sure that you have a zoning permit to operate a business from your house. It is well worth your time, money, and peace of mind to have your legal documents in order so your hard work will go towards expanding your business, and not a legal headache down the road.
Most importantly, have fun and do what you love! The sky is the limit on what you can do. Running your own business is extremely rewarding and gives you optimal flexibility, but it is incredibly hard work especially in the beginning. Find a mentor and ask for advice on how to be successful. Finally, don’t let your business take over your life. Entrepreneurs never have enough hours in the day — but make sure you take time for your family, friends, and yourself — otherwise you will burn out. Enjoy the wild and crazy ride.
Rebecca Geller lives in Fairfax Station and is the proud mom of two young boys, Noah is 18 months and Sam is 3.5 years old. She works with families in Virginia and D.C. to create wills, guardianship, and power of attorney documents, trusts, and legal estate plans. She also serves as legal counsel to small businesses. Contact her at RGeller@rebeccagellerlaw.com or 703.679.7067 to schedule your free initial consult.
The information provided by the lawyer and publisher in this blog/website is for educational purposes only, as well as to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this blog/website, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney. The blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.