Wills, Trusts & Estates
Everyone Needs an Estate Plan
With decades of experience across the spectrum of estate planning and related areas, we can help with the following:
- Last wills and testaments
- Probate and Estate Administration
- Powers of attorney
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Estate tax credit bypass trusts
- Living trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Other forms of revocable and irrevocable trusts
- Understanding estate taxes and the legal options for minimizing them
- Disability planning involving special needs trusts and other instruments to protect eligibility for Medicaid
- Guardianships and guardianship litigation
Wills and Trusts
Tailoring Your Estate Plan to Your Unique Needs
Choose an attorney who will work closely with you to truly understand your circumstances, goals and expectations. By creating an estate plan that is specifically tailored to your particular needs and desires, you can feel confident that you have prepared well for the future. Possible topics of discussion might be: the transfer of assets to beneficiaries, whether you want to leave money for a charitable organization, whether you can benefit from estate tax planning and more.
Types of Wills and Other Estate Planning Tools
There are a variety of wills and trusts available to plan your estate, including:
- Simple wills
- Pour-over wills
- Living wills
- Durable powers of attorney
- Living trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Irrevocable and revocable trusts and wills
These various types of wills and trusts can be used in specific ways to maximize the proceeds of your estate and to better benefit your estate’s beneficiaries.
For example, if you have minor children, it is crucial to designate their guardian. If you do not, the state will. You can also choose the guardian for your children to be immediately effective for 60 days while the guardian petitions to obtain a permanent court order by signing a Designation of Standby Guardian document.
You can ensure that any money you leave to a child will be used appropriately by establishing a trust. The trust can set aside money for education, housing and other items at your discretion. Trusts can be created as part of your will before your death or in a separate living trust — depending on which works best for your situation. Either way, you must put such arrangements in place while you are living. It will ensure your children are taken care of after you are gone, and it can also prevent excessive taxation on what you leave to your children.
Seek Disability Planning Advice While You Are Healthy
Planning for the possibility of a future disability when you are healthy has many benefits. For example, asset transfers and trust instruments designed to protect your Medicaid eligibility work best when they are in place years before you need them. Additionally, elderly individuals can plan for in-home assistance or nursing care before this becomes an immediate concern rather than an abstract possibility.
Special Needs Trusts for Individuals With Long-Term Disabilities
It is not enough to leave behind money or make generous provisions to a family member with a developmental disability or other special needs. A better option for some families is to set up a special needs trust that will not only provide the resources your loved one will need over an indefinite period, but also protect the beneficiary’s eligibility for such benefits asSupplemental Security Income or Medicaid.
Special needs trusts can provide similar benefits for you as well as for third parties. If you are on any form of means-tested government assistance, but have an expectation of an inheritance or other nonexempt assets, we can show you how to protect your own eligibility while enjoying the benefit of these personal or family resources.