Estate planning is the process that is used to answer two very important questions: How will your assets be distributed? And, what will happen if you become incapacitated during your lifetime? Estate Planning is the only way to be sure that your wishes will be carried out after your death. Additionally, estate planning is necessary to minimize estate and inheritance taxes, to safeguard against a subsequent spouse of your spouse from sharing in your estate, to protect the assets that you leave to your loved ones, and to provide for loved ones with special needs. If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed pursuant to the intestacy statutes, which may not be consistent with your wishes and desires.
Every estate plan should include financial and health care powers of attorney. These documents name those persons who will be responsible for making decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself. Additionally, we generally recommend that our clients have either a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust. Wills are typically better suited to estate plans that are simpler with fewer assets and lower net worth, whereas trusts are more sophisticated tools that can be utilized to accomplish more complex goals.
In situations involving a loved one whose circumstances necessitate dependence upon Medicaid, a Special Needs Trust may be created so that amounts given to that person in trust can be enjoyed by him or her, as opposed to being used to provide health care. A Special Needs Trust can be a powerful tool that can be used to provide a disabled loved one with funds to be utilized for non-health care related items.
You need an attorney who is experienced in developing estate plans and who will take the time to collaborate with you to develop the best plan possible. Our estate planning attorneys have years of experience in preparing estate plans that are designed to accomplish client objectives. Every estate plan is unique and many factors must be considered during the design process, including family dynamics, ease of implementation and administration, asset protection, tax minimization, along with a multitude of others.
If you are searching for experienced, client focused, and timely assistance in preparing your estate plan, we hope that you will contact our offices. We can help you and we look forward to serving all of your legal needs.
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