We offer a complete estate planning service and business succession counseling, featuring living trusts and probate avoidance where appropriate, including preparation of wills, trusts and family limited partnerships.
Wills are are the traditional means of passing property upon death. Other methods include use of living trusts, other kinds of lifetime giving and certain forms of joint ownership. This section focuses its discussion on trusts. Elsewhere we discuss joint ownership and wills and compare the use of a trust to the use of a will. Because this area of the law is complex, an attorney should always be consulted before making a decision as to whether a trust or a will is right for you.
Our estate planning service provides analysis and development of a specific plan that is tailored to the client's individual needs, rather than prescribing the same plan for everyone.
Because everyone's situation is different, we approach each estate planning case with the specific situation and goals of the individual in mind. In some cases, proper disposition of property upon death is the paramount concern, while in others the foremost objective might be reduction of taxes, assuring sufficient estate liquidity or guardianship/custody of minor children. There may be business interests that require careful succession planning.
The principle document that we prepare in many plans is the will. The primary function of the will, of course, is to provide for the disposition of property of the person making the will (called the "testator"). Of equal importance, the will also designates the person ("executor" or "personal representative") who will settle the testator's estate after death, and if there are minor children, nominates an individual to serve as their guardian.
One of the things that we may seek to accomplish through the planning process, where appropriate, is the avoidance of the probate process entirely through the judicious use of such devices as joint tenancies, POD accounts and so-called "living trusts."
Living trusts are often used to provide for dependents who have special needs. In these cases, the aim is to provide the dependent's caretakers with the resources to bestow life-enhancing benefits upon the dependent without disqualifying him or her from need-based entitlement programs such as SSI and medicaid. For more information, click this Link.
Link: More About Planning Your Estate
Link: Frequently Asked Questions.