- Name: Sonia Toomey
- Employer: Self – Law Office of Sonia Toomey, PLLC
- Position: Attorney
- Location: Office in Bloomington, meeting space in downtown Minneapolis, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park and at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
- Education: Undergraduate degree in European Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England; Law Degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul
How long have you been practicing?
What led you to practice in the area of estate planning?
I fell into this by accident – I took a Wills and Trust class only because I knew that it would be on the Bar exam, and it fitted with my schedule. After one class I was hooked. I then took an estate planning class and an estate planning clinic, where I had my own clients, and it was clear to me that I had found “my niche”.
What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about estate planning?
That only “people with money” need to have an estate plan. Without exception, everyone needs to do some incapacity planning at the very least. If you have children, you need to have an estate plan in place. And with the Minnesota estate tax and the federal estate tax exemption levels most likely coming down beginning in 2013, it’s surprising how many people who think “we don’t have anything” actually have taxable estates, at least at state level.
What is your favorite aspect of helping individuals create their estate plan?
Knowing that I have given people peace of mind, and that sense of satisfaction at finally getting around to a task that they have been putting off. I am the parent of two small children, and I remember that sense of relief I had once my estate plan was finalized – I knew that I had a safety net in place that would ensure my children were taken care of. My clients leave my office with the same sense of relief.
When do you recommend that an individual start thinking about his or her estate plan?
Ideally, I think people should be looking at their estate plans when they experience any of the major life events – buying their first home, getting married, having a family. Definitely having a family!
What is a best piece of advice that you share with clients as they think about their estate plan?
That the more planning they do, the less work their loved ones will have to do later.
Any interesting anecdotes?
None that are publishable.