When most people think of an estate plan, they think about paperwork, morbidity, impossible decisions, and legal fees. Don’t you? Planning the distribution of your hard earned assets is critical to your family, but usually it’s just so painful. Not only is it difficult and morbid to think about your own death, it’s also extremely inconvenient and time consuming. It’s hard to talk through things like:

If I died or became permanently disabled,

  • What would happen to my family’s income? Where would the kids go?
  • How would my assets and belongings be distributed?
  • Would my family be responsible with my legacy?
  • What would happen to my business?
  • Would my family be overburdened with taxes and court fees?

Despite how uncomfortable these questions are, most of us want as much control over our assets as possible, even after we’re gone.

The Main Steps of Estate Planning

So, instead of powering through estate planning, what do some people do? They try to piece the plan together themselves by creating a Will online or taking a short swipe at a Healthcare Directive to put it out of their mind.

We’ve all been that person at one point or another. The person who is generally successful and responsible, but who, every once in a while, avoids important things to focus on things that are more urgent. Maybe if it were less complicated, we would muster up the courage to finish our dreaded “death plans”.

“A professional team of wonderful people who guided us through setting up a family trust. It’s a great feeling to know our wishes are legally protected and will be carried out the way we would like in the future.” — Clint G., Estate Planning

That’s why we’ve created “The Smooth Sailing System”


When you use The Smooth Sailing System to accomplish your estate planning, you can allow yourself to plan your future without having everything figured out.

  • You don’t have to know everything about your future plans before beginning estate planning
  • You don’t have to have all your life’s paperwork organized
  • You don’t have to spend more than you can afford on your estate plan

Instead, the estate planning system allows you to keep the process as simple as possible so that you can:

  • Create an all-in-one packet to guide your family when you’re gone
  • Gain a personal advisor on all things related to your estate
  • Reduce the amount of “do it yourself” work
  • Have a plan that grows with you over time

The System Condenses Planning Your Estate into 3 Simple Parts


You start by telling us your story — your history, your family and your career. Then we talk about your current circumstances and concerns, your loved ones and your future. We talk through what your loved ones would need if you died or became disabled. We’ll have you bring appropriate documents and fill out paperwork as needed – but we’ll try to keep it limited.


We put together the plan – and it may include any number of legal tools like a Will, Trust(s), Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, Transfer on Death Deed, Quit Claim Deed, Marital Agreement, and more. It may involve planning for Medicaid or Veteran’s Assistance if long term care costs eat up your assets. Through this phase we are in close communication with you about the plan we’re crafting and how it accomplishes your goals. At the end of this phase, you leave our office with your “Smooth Sailing” package, which includes 3 things:

  • All of your new legal documents (and any extra copies you need)
  • A detailed closing letter with written instructions (such as who to give our health care directive to)
  • A Letter of Instruction from you to your heirs outlining your wishes for your estate
  • If applicable, Medicaid planning advice


You’ll want to create a plan that changes with you over time. Major life changes can happen often and unexpectedly, so we check in on your Smooth Sailing System every 3 years to make sure it’s current and accurate.

It’s not for everyone

This program is for those who are willing to pay now to save time, trouble and money later. The Smooth Sailing System will also require some work on your end. We promise to keep things simple – not easy. As you may tell your kids, nothing that’s worth having is easy. And clients regularly comment about how much better they feel when we are done.

The Sooner You Start, the Sooner You’ll Finish

The length of the program all depends on your pace. Some people finish in as little as 4 weeks. Others will run into interruptions along the way. The most important thing is to finish and to have the Smooth Sailing Packet in your hands as soon as possible. Your family deserves it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps of estate planning?

The first step is to contact us for a Life and Legacy Session. We will email you brief information prior to the meeting to help you prepare. During the confidential, complimentary Life and Legacy Session, we will ask you pertinent information about your goals, concerns, relationships, health, and finances. We can then educate you on the pros and cons, cost and process for your options. Once you choose, we will work with you to gather the information and documents we need from you (Phase 1 of the Smooth Sailing System). Then we draft documents designed to work well for you, and an attorney sits down with you to go through the draft documents to explain, point out options, and confirm your wishes. Our goal is that you are comfortable with your plan at the end of this Phase 2 review meeting. Next, we finalize your documents for your Phase 3 signing meeting. We will provide you with our Smooth Sailing Package, including well-organized legal documents, and a detailed closing letter with instructions for your Phase 4 steps. We will also send you reminders and answer questions as you implement the final steps of the Smooth Sailing Process. Over time you can revisit your custom estate plan and make any changes as needed. Our goal is to call you once a year to check in to see if we can help with anything.

When should the estate planning process begin?

It’s never too early to have a plan in place, but we often help people who waited until too late. Everyone over 18 should have incapacity documents in place to avoid an expensive court case if they lose capacity. But it’s common for people to procrastinate doing an estate plan – there are so many stories about wealthy celebrities who left behind a mess after they died. Often our clients get past the procrastination when life events prompt them – like buying real estate, getting married, having children, inheriting money, divorcing, retiring, needing to pay for long-term care, moving to a new state, etc. Remember, estate planning is an ongoing process (your 25-year-old will may not cut it today). Estate planning should be seriously considered for those over 50.

Who needs estate planning?

Estate planning is for anyone over 18, who wants their money and healthcare wishes to be followed if they lose capacity, without an expensive court proceeding. Also, anyone who wants to protect their loved ones so they can avoid hassle and receive their assets after they are gone – needs an estate plan. Estate plans help persons who are older or have a disability to protect their assets while ensuring good care and access to government benefits. No family is immune from illness, or the loss of a loved one and that’s why every adult should have an estate plan. The sooner you work with an estate planner, the better they can work to meet your goals.

Some have anxiety, others procrastinate,

but you still need to do what needs to be done to protect your family…

They are who really matter!!

See what other Safe Harbor Estate Law clients are saying about their experience.

Guiding You Through The Process Of Protecting Your Family And Assets

The Four Cs - Our Unique Approach to Estate Planning in Minnesota

We care, and it shows. You’re not just a number to us. We listen, and we ask questions. We strive to improve our client’s lives every day.


Our firm goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable throughout the process so you feel informed and confident every step of the way.


We help you leave a legacy that is smoother, less expensive, and less hassle for your loved ones with a plan that is uniquely tailored to your goals.


Our team is motivated to help you experience smooth sailing from start to finish so everything is done thoroughly and properly.

Top-Rated Estate Planning & Probate Law Firm

Serving St. Paul, Greater Minnesota & Wisconsin

Estate Planning & Asset Protection Workshops

I attended a free seminar to learn about getting a Will. I learned so much more than I expected! I then hired Safe Harbor Estate Law to create a Will, POA and Trust. The process was very simple!

I highly recommend everyone to contact Safe Harbor to help you too!

— Cindy Olson
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Estate Planning, Asset Protection and the Probate Process

in Minnesota and Wisconsin
St. Paul, MN Estate Planning Law Firm

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