Estate planning is a very important step that anyone should take if they want to ensure that their final wishes are met. This includes taking care of the proper distribution of their assets and belongings, and carrying out any health care requirements the individual may have.
We specialize in complete estate planning services, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and appointments of patient advocates. Proper estate planning minimizes potential taxes and fees, and helps set up legally effective arrangements to make sure all concerns are addressed. More importantly, it brings peace of mind, knowing that you and your loved ones will be taken care of.
- Wills: a will should make your final wishes known with clarity and precision. It’s important to not only have a will created, but also keep it up to date. If a will does not exist upon your passing, it’s a situation known as ‘dying intestate’. This means that the laws of the state you live in will determine the distribution of your assets, which may not result in the outcome you would have wished for.
- Trusts: a trust is a legal contract that gives a third party (known as a ‘trustee’) the right to determine how your assets will be distributed, under certain conditions. The exact latitude and timing the trustee has to distribute those assets can be adjusted according to how the trust is arranged. Trusts are not often subject to probate, which is a legal process to determine the validity of a will, so they can result in a speedier distribution of wealth and potentially lesser estate taxes than in the case of a will alone.
- Power of Attorney: power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual the legal authority to act for another if that person is incapacitated or unable to take action. It can be written as broadly or as narrowly defined as desired and refers to decisions about assets or medical care.
- Guardianships: a guardianship is the legal authority to make life decisions for another individual, either a minor or an adult, that is incapacitated in a way that leaves them unable to care for themselves.
- Conservator: similar to a guardianship, a conservatorship is a legal agreement in which an individual is appointed to manage the finances and personal wishes of a minor or another individual that is incapacitated in some way.
- Estate and Trust Administration: this is a catchall term for the creation and maintenance of the estate planning situations described above. During this process, it’s important to work with an attorney you trust. Not only will they custom build an estate plan that’s just right for your needs, but they will help to maintain and update your estate plan as your needs change.