Estate Planning/Probate

Proper estate planning is an important part of every person's financial plan. Estate planning is growing more complicated. Wills are still very commonly used, but trusts are also very valuable and often are necessary to meet a person's or family's needs. The firm can assist you with the following:

  • Basic estate plans: this includes a will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney and an advanced directive (also known as a living will). All four parts are absolutely necessary for all estate plans. If one part is lacking, this could have severe consequences.
  • Contingent trusts: these are very useful trusts and are especially common among couples who have minor children. Such trusts prevent a huge payout of money to 18-year-olds, who are not responsible enough to handle large payouts, in case of the death of both parents.
  • Inter vivos trusts: these are trusts that become effective during the life of the person who forms the trust, as opposed to testamentary trusts, which take effect after the death of the person who has formed the trust. Inter vivos trusts have many uses and tax implications, so they must be constructed with great care by an experienced attorney.
  • Will contests: sadly, it is not uncommon to see situations where a person has exercised "undue influence" upon another in an effort to inherit their property upon their death. Unfortunately, previously lost or forgotten family members may simply pop up in the last months of a person's life, and then make several changes to a person's estate plan in an effort to deprive legitimate friends of family members of their inheritance. In short, they make a mess of things. Steps can be taken to guard against such actions and to undo the harm once they've been completed.
  • Probate: a person's property often ends up in probate upon their death. The process can be quite intimidating for the person's remaining friends and family members, but it doesn't have to be if you have proper counsel. Moreover, probate often can be avoided if you approach estate administration properly.