Are you accepting new clients?
I am not accepting new clients. I heartily recommend my former firm, Hawke Law Group, to serve you on a wide range of legal issues.

Do you offer flat fee pricing?
Flat fees on some services are available after our initial consultation.

Why do I need a will?
If you like the one the State of Minnesota has written for you, maybe you don’t. But if you’re not sure what the State’s property distribution rules are for people without Wills, or you have a reason to make special provisions (minor children, no children, charitable intentions, second marriage, large estate, very small estate, benefiting people with special needs or addiction, not married to partner, thinking you may need to apply for MA,…), you’ll want to set up documents to state your wishes. The reasons vary as widely as the circumstances of people’s lives, but nearly everyone decides they are better off with a will than without one.

What is probate and why do I need a lawyer for it?
Probate is the legal process for distributing the probate property of a dead person. “Probate” in Minnesota covers a very broad range of processes ranging from summary proceedings to formal, supervised administration. The amount of help you’ll need from a lawyer to complete your decedent’s probate proceedings will vary according to the size of the estate, whether it contains any real estate, and whether there are likely to be any disputes among parties interested in the estate, but very few people are comfortable navigating the steps of the process entirely on their own.

Isn’t there a way to completely avoid probate?
There is more than one way to avoid probate. In general, if the next owner can be determined simply by examining the title or beneficiary designation on an asset, or if there is something in the nature of the asset to cause automatic transfer of ownership, the asset will pass outside of probate. The fact it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for every case, and if we determine it’s a good idea for you, very careful forethought is still necessary. You will want a Will to cover the disposition of any property in the probate category on your passing, since circumstances can change after the time you are capable of changing your will. I offer the estate planning services necessary to avoid probate as far as is possible in your situation, if that is your preference.

Can’t I use the internet to get contracts and other forms to set up or sell my business, or write my own Will?
A person is always free to act pro se (for himself, as his own lawyer). But the internet is “a free country,” so to speak, where people post whatever they like, without necessarily knowing the facts or expressing themselves clearly even when they do. Without a lawyer you must judge for yourself whether your situation is actually as simple and ordinary as you believe. More often than not, as I meet with clients, I discover a quirk in their situation that requires careful planning and custom drafting. At $200/hr, most people decide paying for my expertise is a good value.

Why should I deal with my estate planning process now? I’m healthy, and I don’t like to think about dying.
No one likes to think about dying—but many ancient texts agree with the 103rd Psalm that our days are like grass, and “the wind passes over it and it is gone.” Life ends inevitably and often unpredictably. The wise woman or man prepares for the end so that a lifetime’s work is not wasted, and to spare their loved ones unnecessary hardship, hassle, and delay. Contact me or another attorney you trust to take those steps, despite the temporary discomfort of thinking through these decisions.

What do you charge?
My hourly rate is $200/hr, with extra services such as house calls, meeting an exceedingly short deadline, or unusual numbers of photocopies requiring separate and additional charges. If you hire me, in every case you will receive a written engagement letter containing the terms—including fees—of our attorney-client relationship.