We work with individuals and families to tailor estate plans to meet your particular needs and goals, whatever the nature and value of your estate may be, and whatever your family situation may look like. Whether your family is a traditional nuclear family or a more complex “blended” or nontraditional family, we can customize an estate plan for your needs and objectives.
The most basic estate plan includes a will designating who should inherit property after a death. We can also help you with certain probate avoidance strategies, such as appropriate beneficiary designations for financial accounts and/or survivorship deeds to transfer property automatically at death. Basic planning also should include certain “ancillary” documents, including financial and medical powers of attorney (naming an agent to make decisions and act on your behalf if you are not able), designations of guardians for your underaged children, directives on life support, and burial instructions.
We frequently utilize living trusts for clients who wish to put their assets in trust during their lifetime, avoid probate at death, and simplify the transition after death. Even some smaller estates can benefit from the advantages of the living trust. Clients with larger estates, complex families, estate tax issues, or concerns about will contests or a child or other beneficiary inheriting outright will generally prefer a trust option.
We use trusts for various purposes. You may choose to leave an inheritance for your loved ones in a trust to protect it from creditors, lawsuits, and divorces. If you have beneficiaries with special needs, addiction issues, or creditor problems, or if they simply lack the maturity to manage large sums, a trust may resolve that problem. Some trusts are designed for long term minimization of estate tax. Special trusts may be used to receive gifts, hold life insurance, help with Medicaid qualification, or provide charitable gifts. Trusts can have family members as trustees, or professional trustees. There are many different uses for trusts, and they can be customized to your need. A living trust may be designed to be virtually invisible while you are living, then convert to separate trusts for each child or beneficiary later.
Clients with concerns about estate tax may benefit from additional planning. We are experienced with establishing gift trusts to make transfers to loved ones during life, creating family limited partnerships to maintain consolidated management and control of gifted assets, leverage gifts, and minimize or avoid estate tax, and establishing charitable trusts. Please contact us if you would like to discuss these and other strategies for long term tax planning and asset protection.