If you’re a parent without an Estate Plan, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Luckily, Patricia De Fonte of De Fonte Law PC offers donation based* Estate Planning Fundamentals for Parents workshops. After recently attending one of the workshops through Recess Collective, I left feeling enlightened and empowered. I learned what an Estate Plan really is, and why it is an important part of protecting my children’s financial future.
Disclosure: I attended this workshop in 2022 for the purposes of a review. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Also, Estate Planning is a complex legal matter, and I am not an attorney; thus, nothing I wrote in this article is intended to be legal advice.
In this article:
- Who is Patricia De Fonte?
- What’s covered in the workshop.
- Questions to ask yourself as a parent.
- Sign up for a workshop.
Who is Patricia De Fonte?
Patricia De Fonte is a powerhouse in the estate planning world. As an attorney, she is passionate about empowering her clients with knowledge. Her goal is to preserve family harmony in times of crisis and grief, and to preserve generational wealth while skipping any added trauma.
In 2021 her firm, De Fonte Law PC, won the Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau. Patricia is the first attorney to have won this award.
Patricia has also been awarded the Super Lawyer designation in 2021 and 2022, an honor given to only five percent of attorneys in California.
Patricia’s firm is headquartered in San Francisco, and she and her team serve clients all over California remotely.
What’s covered in the workshop
When I logged on to the Zoom call, I didn’t know what to expect. I was familiar with a will, a trust, and a power of attorney, but that was about it. I was a little concerned that my ignorance would be obvious to all.
As Patricia jumped right in and introduced herself and her firm’s “Estate Planning With Heart” philosophy, my concerns quickly vanished. She exudes warmth and assurance, and it doesn’t take long to realize that she is highly knowledgeable. She used a powerpoint, but she gave a conversational presentation, answering questions as they came up and making sure everyone understood what she was saying.
Here are a few eye-opening topics she covered in the workshop:
- What an Estate Plan is.
- Why everyone, especially parents, needs a highly personalized Estate Plan.
- What a good Estate Planning Attorney practice looks like, and what to expect from your attorney.
- Which legal documents parents should have.
- What the default Estate Plan provided by the state is.
- How to protect your grieving family members when they are vulnerable.
- What a guardianship nomination is, and what to consider when choosing the people who will look after your children.
- The rights minors have when it comes to inheriting wealth.
Questions to ask yourself as a parent
Several questions started to pop up in my mind during the workshop. There are so many things I want to have in order, should I suddenly die or become incapacitated. While I can’t imagine a world where my children grow up without me, I have to be realistic and acknowledge that it’s not impossible.
I realized that one of the most important questions I should be asking myself is who I would name to be my children’s guardian in the event that I suddenly passed away. If you haven’t nominated a guardian for your children yet, here are a few questions to mull over:
1. What’s in the best interest of my child? Do my kids love these people?
Think about how your children would feel if they were to move in with these guardians.
2. Do I want to nominate my closest relatives?
Maybe the answer is a resounding YES! Or maybe it’s a hard NO. Be sure to weigh all options.
3. What is their family home like?
Consider the dynamics of your nominee’s home. Do you agree with the majority of the choices these people make? Would your children fit in well here and feel loved?
4. What is their financial stability like? If I have funds to leave to my kids, will the guardians get a share of my estate to support my children?
Contemplate what would happen to your nominated guardians financially if this situation were to become a reality.
5. Would the guardians follow my wishes and parent in a similar way as I would?
Are the guardians aware of your wishes and beliefs? Think about how well you can assume that your nominated guardians would carry out your wishes.
Sign up for a workshop
Worrying about what would happen to your kids (and your stuff) should you become incapacitated is not the most fun way to pass the time as a parent, but attending this workshop is a great first step in making a plan. No one wants to accidentally leave their loved ones in a bad situation. I left the class feeling motivated to put my ducks in a row, and empowered to have some control beyond the grave (a grave, I hope, that is nowhere in my immediate future.)
If you’re a parent of young children in the same boat as me, I recommend this workshop. It’s very informative, and there is no obligation to hire De Fonte Law PC as your Estate Planning attorney. You can find out more by visiting https://defontelaw.com/workshops/.
*Suggested Donation of $5-25 per family for the workshop