Our estate and succession planning attorneys offer a variety of services tailored to meet your individual needs. Often we can plan an estate during an initial meeting or with simple advice over the phone. Other clients require wills, trusts, general durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills. Some require even more complicated, sophisticated, and comprehensive plans to avoid taxes, family disputes, and to ensure preservation of their assets well into the future. We are here to provide you with timely, professional and skilled legal representation for you specific legal needs, regardless of the size, location or complexity of your estate. We work with clients to develop a proper and efficient legal strategy for their particular legal problems and avoid problems before they arise.
We also implement asset protection plans and draft revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, family trusts, legacy trusts and dozens of other specialty trusts. We assist with gift tax, estate tax, generation skipping transfer tax and income tax planning. We provide you with the legal options available to you and let you make informed decisions. We will analyze your assets, debts, family, and particular needs and wishes and recommend effective distribution in accordance with your goals.
Administering wills, trusts, or any estate in probate court can lead to litigation. We have represented clients in will disputes, family disputes, real estate disputes, trust and trustee disputes, guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, adoption, business and corporate law, and tax law. We first try to avoid these disputes involving trusts, wills and estates protection by careful planning and draftsmanship. Some litigation cannot be predicted or avoided. We vigorously represent and stand behind our clients. We also regularly assist new clients in will, trust, and estate litigation.
Many people misunderstand the tax ramifications of a particular transaction or what rules apply to them. We have experience with all levels of transfer taxes, including estate taxes, gift taxes, generation skipping transfer taxes, income taxes and charitable deductions. We utilize the tax laws applicable before and after your lifetime to save you and your family the most we can while fulfilling your particular wishes. We treat your hard earned money as if it is our own when it comes to writing checks to the Department of Treasury.
A Trust is a legal arrangement. A trust with governing terms is drafted. Assets are transferred to the trustee(s) to hold and manage the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries according to instructions that are given in a trust document. There are many types or and uses for trusts. Trusts are usually set up to hold assets for the benefit of a minor or a person with disabilities (or the inability to manage assets prudently), to avoid taxes, to provide income to beneficiaries while preserving principal for future generations, to the asset management desired by the person setting up the trust, to provide privacy and peace of mind, to avoid creditors and to avoid probate.
Trusts may be created during lifetime (a living trust a/k/a inter vivos trust) or in a will (a testamentary trust). Some trusts are irrevocable, meaning they cannot be changed or modified without following certain statutes or procedures. Other trusts are revocable or modifiable as provided in the trust agreement.
For larger estates, we have experience in using sophisticated tax oriented strategies allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. We often use specialized trusts and entities to accomplish this goal.
Although all assets pass after death without a will, a will is the most frequently used device to carry out a person’s last wishes. One should not assume that, absent competent legal advice from an attorney, their assets will pass automatically to those they want to inherit their property. The law provides default rules for certain family members that inherit in the absence of a will. Many assets, such as life insurance, real estate, and bank accounts pass according to their governing document, respectively the beneficiary designation, deed, and signature card. The default rules and how you accumulated your assets over the years may determine who will inherit your property and may not provide for the individuals you want to inherit from your estate.
Whether you need a simple will or something far more complex, we have the expertise to achieve the result you want. We guide our clients through the many options in creating an estate plan and/or will, such as alternatives to a will, specific gifts, division of the estate, administering the estate and giving effect to the will, generation skipping transfer and income tax issues, providing contingencies in anticipation of future events such as death of an heir, and appointing a personal representative a/k/a an executor, a trustee (if necessary), and a guardian for your children (if necessary) to carry out your directions and fulfill your particular needs. We recognize the estate planning process is glooming, yet most of our clients leave our office after their first visit relieved and thankful.