Wills, Trusts & Estates

We recommend that every adult person, especially those with minor children, consider having a Will, Durable General Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney/Living Will prepared for them.

Will

  • A Will is a document which passes title to property at death to your intended beneficiaries, such as your spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.
  • A Will also appoints the Guardians of the Person for your minor children to avoid a Court from making this decision on its own. Everyone with minor children should have a will for this reason alone.
  • A Will can also save on death and transfer taxes

Durable General Power of Attorney

  • Allows an agent you designate to act for you in all business, personal and financial matters.
  • Remains valid in the event of your incapacity–avoids the time consuming, expensive and emotionally draining process of having a guardian appointed.
  • Lets someone act for you even if you are ok but unavailable. E.g. selling your home or cashing out a bank or brokerage account.

Healthcare Power of Attorney/Living Will

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney appoints someone to act for you to authorize or withhold treatment and to make other medical treatment decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated and cannot make them for yourself.
  • Living Will communicates your wishes on extraordinary treatment if you are (1) incapacitated, (2) imminently terminal and (3) with no significant hope of your recovery.

Trust

  • A Trust is a written document where a person or entity called a Trustee holds and manages property according to written instructions established by the donor of the property for the benefit of a beneficiary or class of beneficiaries.
  • People typically create trusts for the benefit of children or other minor beneficiaries to hold property, either for a term certain or for that beneficiary(s) lifetime.
  • Trusts are also used for the benefit of a surviving spouse to hold property given to that spouse to better insure that such property passes to children after the surviving spouse’s death.
  • Trusts can also help to reduce, minimize and/or eliminate Federal Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes as well as income taxes in certain applications.

Estate Administration and Probate

  • We provide estate administration services aimed at the cost efficient and effective settlement of decedent’s estates in Probate.
  • Probate is the process by which property owned solely by the decedent passes in an orderly fashion to the beneficiaries listed in the decedent’s will after all just debts and taxes have been paid. This type of property is referred to as Probate Property.
  • The probate process and the Will do not control the passage of Non-Probate Property, or property which had two or more owners jointly or property which has a beneficiary designated other than the decedent’s estate. Examples of Non-Probate Property are a joint tenants with right of survivorship bank account, a life insurance policy naming a spouse or children as beneficiary, a retirement account naming a spouse or children as beneficiary.
  • Because Probate Property and Non-Probate Property differ in how such property passes to intended beneficiaries, it is imperative that the ownership and beneficiary designations of each asset owned by examined individually to insure that the property will pass to such intended beneficiaries.

Consultation

Contact us to review and to discuss your current estate planning documents, such as Wills, Durable General Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Powers of Attorney/Living Wills and Trusts to see if any changes need to be made and/or if any additional taxes can be saved. Call us to discuss your case at 724-940-5901 or contact us online.