Legal Advice

When planning your transition of “things” or assets, there are many details to hammer out. Before getting in touch with a lawyer or a mediator there are several important documents that you need to gather. If you are a Plan the Course© subscriber, you should already have these items available. They include:
  • Wills
  • Bank Accounts 
  • Death Certificates
  • Deeds
  • Insurance Policies
  • Tax Documents
  • Vehicle and Boat titles
  • Advance Directives

Mediation Services

Mediators are an excellent cost effective way to bring family members together to discuss your transition plan. We recommend that these services are obtained PRIOR TO writing your will and when you have revisions. Average mediation services range from $100- $300 an hour with some mediators charging full and half day rates, whereas average lawyer fees start at $275 per hour, requiring a minimum retainer of $3000. ( 

Attorney Services

 While it is not necessary to get a lawyer, if you have several family members or a non family member you would like to leave assets to, a lawyer is strongly recommended. Each family has its own unique needs.  A lawyer will make sure all the ‘t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted” from a legal standpoint, but it is important to keep in mind that out of date documents or uninformed family members can lead to lengthy litigation and disputes after you pass.  The time leading up to and following a death of a loved one is extremely emotional, and even the closest family will have disagreements over the most trivial matters.  To make sure there is still peace in the family, it is a good idea to let a lawyer   figure things out. 


Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not have one. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes.

Death Certificates

A Certified Death Certificate is necessary before anything can be done. Each state has specific instructions for providing a death certificate. Click below to access our state by state resource page.

Bank Accounts

What is to be done with bank accounts after a death varies regionally. In some regions, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notified immediately, and you should find out the procedures for releasing these funds, and how to set up a new account for funds received after the death.



Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries. Each state has specific instructions for the process of probate. Click below to access our state by state resource page.


An executor is the personal representative of your estate. You may have more than one. They are the person or persons in charge of taking control of your assets, paying off any debts, and distributing assets to your beneficiaries per the terms and conditions of your will. Your choice of executor important to the process of smoothly transitioning your final wishes, and should be entrusted to an individual or individuals you have confidence in, either legal council, family member or trusted friend.

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What you can do in advance