Estate planning is planning for life. Regardless of the size or content of your estate, an estate plan is in order to aid with any eventuality.
Lack of planning to protect loved ones will result in unnecessary anguish and cost through the probate and/or conservatorship process. You presently have the ability to take control over distribution of your assets and cash. Now is the time to act. Passing on without an estate plan leaves your estate and loved ones to the whims of the "intestacy" statutes as implemented by the probate courts.
Proper estate planning not only avoids the cost and delays of probate, but addresses the following:
- Naming guardians for your minor children and providing for their financial care;
- Continued receipt of public benefits by special needs beneficiaries in the event of inheritance or legal settlement;
- Control over distribution to spendthrift and "at risk" (chemically dependent) beneficiaries;
- Control over distribution to beneficiaries and a surviving spouse where there have been multiple marriages;
- Avoidance of estate tax where there is a surviving non-citizen spouse;
- Avoidance of estate tax where there is a high net worth estate;
- Taking advantage of step-up, or "double step-up," basis by passage of capital assets through a living trust.
These are just a few of the benefits of proper estate planning. Each family's situation requires particular attention in crafting a custom estate plan. In addition to the legal and tax analysis, consideration must be had for anticipated conflict that might result in litigation.
Complex (irrevocable) and special needs trusts require careful fact research and drafting. These types of trusts are fertile ground for malpractice. There can be unforeseen tax consequences with irrevocable trusts. An improperly drafted special needs trusts can result in the unwarranted repayment of public benefits. Experienced counsel is imperative to proper trust settlement and administration.
Our Estate Planning Package
Our affordable and comprehensive estate planning package will give you and your family peace of mind for any eventuality.
Our most popular estate planning package includes:
- The Living Trust (including the Declaration of Trust and Certificate of Trust);
- Pour-Over Wills (to bequeath the non-transferred residue of the estate to the Trust);
- Durable Powers of Attorney in the event of incapacity;
- Health Care Directives;
- HIPPA Waivers;
- Disposition Instructions;
- Grant Deeds and Preliminary Change of Ownership Reports for transfer of real estate;
- Directives and Power(s) of Attorney for the care of minors and dependents
Our estate planning package addresses all of the present and future needs of the trust settlors and beneficiaries. This package will solve the need to go to court on an emergency basis to get orders in the event of incapacity and later distribute assets through the probate courts.
Why Not Just a Will?
Unbeknownst to many, a will must be "probated." While a valid will can direct distribution to beneficiaries, any will must be submitted to probate in order to carry out final distribution of the decedent's estate. A will is also insufficient to manage distribution, or retention of the estate assets, in the same way as a trust.
Strategic Planning With Complex Trusts
We also advise on and draft strategic planning instruments for high net worth individuals and those seeking to shelter and designate specific funds and assets. Our estate planning includes irrevocable trusts including sophisticated estate planning instruments such as grantor annuity trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts and qualified personal residence trusts. These instruments are aimed at moving assets outside of the grantor's taxable estate and, at the same time, retaining some degree of grantor control over the assets.
Here you can download our Estate Planning Organizer in both fillable and printable format.
NOTE: For our fillable organizer (1) save it to your computer, (2) give it a unique name,
(3) fill and save your work. If you fill directly online, the information will not be saved. The form
can be e-mailed to us once you have completed it.