Estate Planning to Secure Your Legacy
Comprehensive plans to protect your family’s future
Wills and trusts are the principal legal instruments that attorneys use to help clients transfer assets to their heirs. We can advise you on the best means for you to address your legacy concerns, including the transfer of financial and real property assets, estate tax avoidance, guardianships for minor children, and support for philanthropic causes. We assemble estate documents that reflect your desires and serve your estate planning needs.
Health Care Directives and Last Will and Testament
A Health Care Directive establishes parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated and helps assure that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored and guarded by a trusted representative. Your Last Will and Testament is also an important document and can help establish how your property will be distributed, establish care for your minor children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. If you die without a Last Will and Testament, the court will determine how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet. The Court may not make decisions that reflect your actual desires. Do not take that chance. Let us draft these important documents so that your intentions are clearly memorialized and conveyed.
Changing your Last Will and Testament
It is a good idea to review your Last Will and Testament, and other estate planning documents every two to three years, and update those documents to reflect changes in your circumstances and priorities. We also put together valid codicils (amendments) that may address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.
Trusts specially tailored to meet your estate planning goals
Depending on your financial circumstances, a Will may not be the best way for you to transfer assets to your heirs. A Trust is a legal entity created to hold and transfer your property. A Trust can also be used to shield your wealth from losses due to liability and taxation, so that your heirs and not the Government keep more of what you worked hard for. We can help you select the proper type of trust instrument that best addresses your legacy concerns, such as:
- Revocable trusts.— As the grantor, you can retain control of your assets and may revoke or revise the trust at any time.
- Irrevocable trusts.— Once established, the assets no longer belong to you, and you can’t amend the trust without your beneficiary’s consent. However, appreciated assets are generally not subject to estate taxes.
- Qualified personal residence trusts— A QPRT prevents the value of your primary residence or vacation home from being added to the grantor’s estate. It prevents real property which may appreciate in value from triggering the estate tax.
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts— This trust removes a grantor’s life insurance from the taxable estate. It’s an excellent way to leave a tax-free legacy to loved ones.
- Qualified terminable interest property trusts— A QTIP trust helps grantors in second marriages provide for the lifetime needs of a second spouse while preserving a legacy for children from the first marriage.
Trusts are very flexible instruments. We can help you create a plan that addresses your unique estate planning needs.