Estate Planning


Wills

A will, sometimes referred to as a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document that declares how an estate or property will be managed after one’s death. This is an important step to take if you’d like to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the event that anything should happen. If you have children, it may be particularly important to you to ensure they will be provided for. Generally speaking, a will should include information relating to paying debt, making charitable contributions and the allocation of assets and property to beneficiaries. It should also name an executor, a person who will be responsible for carrying out the terms of the will. A will may need to be updated at various times, in the event of divorce, the birth of a new child, the death of a spouse or a significant change in assets or property. If you’re looking for more information about drafting a will, please contact us for a consultation.

Trusts

A trust is a legal instrument that establishes a legal relationship between the grantor, trust, trustee and beneficiaries. Leaving assets to heirs outright is not usually advisable. This legal instrument can help you protect property from creditors, preserve funds for minor children and even diminish tax liability. Revocable living trusts are generally used to avoid having their estates go through the probate process.

Durable Power of Attorney

A DPA appoints an “agent” to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to do so.

Advance Health Care Directive

An AHCD, sometimes called a medical power of attorney or a living will, is a document which states your wishes for medical treatment as well as end-of-life care decisions. It also appoints an “agent” to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate your wishes.

Trust Administration

Trust administration is requires when someone who created a trust passes away. The creator of the trust, or the grantor as he is also called, will provide instructions in the trust document when the trust is created. The grantor will also establish a specific kind of trust – either irrevocable or revocable – and will fund the trust by transferring property into it. Upon the death of the grantor, the person who was named as the trustee in the trust document will take over management of the assets and will go through the formal trust administration process.

Probating of a Will

The probate of a will means proving its genuineness in probate court. Unless otherwise provided by statute, a will must be admitted to probate before a court will allow the distribution of a decedent’s property to the heirs according to its terms. As a general rule, a will has no legal effect until it is probated.