Estate Planning Services
WILLS AND TRUSTS
Unless you have a carefully crafted estate plan, someone other than you will make decisions on your behalf. And this does not only apply to your assets and finances. Someone else will make healthcare decisions, end of life decisions, funeral arrangements, and even the custodial, educational, and religious decisions for your children.
Your attorney will create an estate plan that puts into motion your wishes for who acts on your behalf and specific instructions for how you want to be cared for. Further, you will be able to provide for your family and save them the costs associated with administering an estate without a will and trust.
Most estate plans can be done for a flat fee, avoiding the overcharging of hourly rate billing.
ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES
The person who knows your needs the best is you. The best way to make sure healthcare providers know your wishes is to create an advance healthcare directive. Leave no doubt by choosing now, while you are of sound mind, who should act on your behalf, the end-of-life decisions you desire, pain relief instructions, organ donation, and disposition of your remains.
If a loved one has lost the ability to care for him or herself, it may be necessary to establish a conservatorship so someone else can care for that person. This procedure is used when someone has not created an estate plan nominating an agent to make decisions on the person’s behalf. This procedure must be initiated by filing a petition in court and will be monitored from time to time by the court. Your attorney can assist you in assuming control over your loved one’s affairs.
TRUST and PROBATE ADMINISTRATION
When the time comes for a trustee to take control over a person’s estate, either by incapacity or death, the law requires numerous procedures be followed. Your attorney will be there to guide you through the process and put into practice the wishes established by the estate plan.
Probate is required when someone dies with a will, but no family trust, or when someone dies without any will at all. It is a complicated, lengthy process which requires the guidance of an attorney. A representative of the estate will need to be appointed. That person will have a number of responsibilities and is eligible for fees for performing those duties. Different types of assets have different rules which your attorney will help in dealing with. Numerous issues may arise which complicate probating an estate, such as assets which are outside the decedent’s county of residence, a will contest, litigation, and omitted spouses and/or children.
TRUST AND PROBATE LITIGATION
When disputes arise over the terms of a will or trust, or even the validity of the document itself, you need a courtroom lawyer who can effectively advocate for the right result. Whether by mistake, inadvertence, or blatant fraud, disagreements involving trusts require a skilled litigator.