In my career I’ve been lucky to help people and their families establish a clear and practical estate plan. I work to make sure my all of my client’s concerns are discussed, so that their decisions and instructions truly reflect their wishes. I love to give people the peace of mind that comes with planning for what’s important, whether it’s developing a plan of care for young children, funding an important organization, paying for your grandchildrens’ education, or just providing for beloved dogs and cats.
Generally, my client’s estate plans include:
Last Will and Testament
Implementing a Last Will and Testament allows you to distribute your property and appoint guardians for your minor children. In it you can leave funds to a trust for your children, to be release them to them when they become an adult, reach a certain age, or achieve a specific accomplishment like graduating from college.
Powers of Attorney and Living Will
Powers of Attorney are important documents that ensure your family and loved ones can make healthcare and financial decisions for you without having to involve the court system. The Living Will instructs end-of-life care decisions to ensure the right measures are taken by nurses and physicians.
Probate Avoidance and Revocable Living Trusts
If you die without a Revocable Living Trust, your property will be distributed in the probate system, which requires a court filing and is overseen by a public official. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is slow and it is public. Many people choose to avoid probate by designating “P.O.D.” recipients, and establishing a Revocable Living Trust to hold their assets. The Trust is a legal construct that both owns and controls your property for you, just as you do. The difference is that the trust doesn’t “die” when you die, so it can transfer its (“your”) assets without having to go through the probate system.
Final Disposition Instructions
To many people it is important to define how their remains will be handled when they die, and designate a funeral home or a house of worship. For some, it’s important to make sure their loved ones hire the right 80’s cover band for the “celebration of life” ceremony in their memory. Whatever your wishes, write them down. We’ll help to make sure they’re clear.
A Note on Estate Tax Planning
The Federal Estate Tax only kicks in on individuals’ estates worth $11.58 million and couples’ worth $23.16 million. The Firm will gladly represent clients of greater means than these thresholds, but does not offer tax planning services to minimize or avoid the Federal Estate Tax.