Unlike other firms, we view estate planning as a process, and not as one-time preparation of legal documents. We get to know you and your loved ones, the part that each person plays, your concerns and your goals for the future. We then identify any issues and/or challenges that you face, and custom tailor your estate plan documents to meet your needs.
Our estate plan services include:
Preparation of basic/core estate planning documents
Every estate plan, should include the following documents:
This document names your beneficiaries and what they are to receive, appoints a Personal Representative (formerly known as Executor) and names a guardian for your minor children (if you have them).
- Durable Powers of Attorney:
This document names an agent to make legal and financial decisions for you if you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.
- Health Care Proxy:
This document names an agent to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.
Preparation of Trusts
More complex estate plans may include one or more of the following types of trusts:
- Revocable Trusts:
These trusts are most often used for probate avoidance but may also be used to reduce estate taxes and to protect assets for minor beneficiaries or beneficiaries with creditor concerns.
- Irrevocable Trusts:
These trusts are most often used in an attempt to protect assets from the nursing home and related long term care costs but may also be used for asset protection, estate tax reduction or elimination and gift tax reduction.
- Testamentary Trusts:
These trusts are most often used by married couples to protect part or all of their estate from the nursing home and related long term care costs.
- Special Needs Trusts:
These trusts are used to leave assets to a beneficiary receiving governmental or charitable benefits without affecting those benefits.
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts:
These trusts are most often used to remove the death benefit of a life insurance policy from a client’s estate, thereby reducing or eliminating estate taxes.
- Retirement Trusts:
These trusts are used for pre-tax assets such as 401ks, IRAs and 403bs to leave assets to beneficiaries in a way that forces them to stretch the tax deferral on the account while offering them the creditor protection afforded by a trust.
- Equine and Pet Trusts:
These trusts are used to leave money in the hands of a Trustee for the benefit of a pet, to name a caretaker for the pet and to outline how you would like the pet to be cared for after your passing.
- Charitable Trusts:
These trusts are most often used for charitable giving (during life or after death) as well as estate tax planning and income tax planning.