When Marianne Ludlow founded Sundance Law Group several experiences were instrumental in molding her philosophy and approach to estate planning and business law:
“Shortly after I became a new attorney, my grandmother died. While she paid an attorney to draft a will and a revocable living trust for her, the attorney simply provided her with the documents and never followed up. My grandmother apparently did not understand the need to transfer her assets into the trust and never did so. Consequently, at her death, her entire estate needed to be probated even though she had paid for documents that could have avoided this process. My father and I spent many hours (and late nights) ascertaining the assets she owned (it was not organized), and taking those assets through probate. Additionally, even though my grandmother lived frugally, her assets (especially her home) had appreciated significantly. Because she didn’t have an ongoing relationship with her attorney, the attorney never addressed tax issues that arose with her appreciated assets, resulting in a large tax at her death.
As I began practicing law, I realized many attorneys employ a document-based approach to estate planning. After a short intake, they give clients form documents and then do not follow-up. They do not understand and capture what is important to clients and provide a customized approach to their issues. What’s more, they do not assist them in properly taking advantage of the planning they do. (Empty trusts don’t do anyone any good.) As a result, clients often have plans that they do not understand and that do not meet their needs.
Years later when I became a mom, I realized the importance of planning after I nearly missed being in a serious car accident. The experience caused me to ask a string of questions about my own mortality. Did the plan I have in place adequately protect my minor children and provide for their needs? Could my family locate my legal documents and assets? Had I written down or recorded my insights and experiences so that my kids (and someday grandkids) would know what I valued, what I wanted for them, and my advice on special occasions. These questions helped me develop a more comprehensive planning strategy for families – especially those with young children and teens.
I formed Sundance Law to create an estate planning practice that provided customized and personal estate planning assistance that included a comprehensive plan to (1) help families organize and understand their assets, (2) smoothly and efficiently pass on those assets as well as their “intangible assets” (values, experiences, insights), (3) ensure minor children are taken care of, and (4) provide ongoing assistance so that plans continued to work as family and financial circumstances change. Sundance Law’s unique approach to estate planning starts even before the Initial FutureSecure™ Planning Session and continues well-past document delivery.
Starting and running a business is time-consuming and often times stressful. During my years helping businesses and being a business owner, I’ve observed the positive effects of proper planning and the costly effects of poor planning. One client, for example, didn’t use an attorney in the early days of his software business. He licensed his software using a bare-bones form agreement with his sales people filling in details.
Fast forward several years. When his clients expanded their businesses, many cited broad license terms to justify broad company-wide use of the software. Because his agreements weren’t detailed or comprehensive, when his clients expanded many used the vague language to justify broad enterprise use. Because the license rights were not carefully tailored, his remedies were limited, and those mistakes cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
My goal is to provide you with foundational and ongoing legal assistance so that you can avoid costly mistakes and your business can thrive. It starts with an Initial FutureSecureTM Consultation in which we assess the legal, financial, insurance and tax foundation of your business. That assessment can help you see any gaps. After that, you can decide the legal services that best fit your business and your budget. Sundance Law ...