When a Last Will & Testament is correctly drafted, signed and witnessed, you can feel comfort in knowing your wishes for the distribution of your property will be carefully followed upon your passing. Your Will can often help your estate avoid the expense of a “formal” probate (requiring appearances before a judge) and allow your estate to be handled through a more efficient “informal” probate process (by filing court documents without personal appearances).
A carefully drafted Will allows you to leave your assets, whether real estate, cash, or family heirlooms, to whomever you choose. Your Will is typically handled through a probate where a local court will supervise the administration of your estate. If you have real estate in more than one state, your “executor” or “personal representative” may need to file for probate in each state where property is located. Our firm is committed to providing a legally sound will that will help prevent ambiguities or conflicts between your loved ones and beneficiaries. We can also assist you through the probate process when needed.
A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is the most common Estate Planning Trust and performs the same functions of a Will, but with several added benefits such as avoiding probate, protecting assets for your beneficiaries and offering you control over how and when your estate is distributed.
Irrevocable Trusts are also useful tools as part of a comprehensive estate plan and can help protect your assets for yourself, or help you qualify for a variety of State or Federal benefits (ALTCS/Medicaid, VA Aid & Attendance).
Powers of Attorneys
In addition to your Will or Trust, it is critical to also take measures to provide for your own care during your lifetime by executing carefully drafted Powers of Attorney. These documents allow you to choose exactly will to act on your behalf and make decisions for you in the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated or disabled. These powers will govern your financial affairs and decisions regarding your health and well-being. Properly drafted powers will prevent court intervention and the need for expensive and lengthy Guardianship or Conservatorship proceedings in court. It is essential that you make these decisions and create these powers of attorney before you suffer a serious disability or incapacity to ensure that the person making your health care and financial decisions is someone you can trust. Failure to plan can lead to costly unanticipated consequences and a court-appointed Conservator and/or Guardian that does not share your values and priorities.
Gun Trust & Firearm Planning
Whether you are an avid collector, hunter, sportsperson, or NFA license holder (Title II or Class III firearm). It is critical to document and care for your valuable firearms in strict accordance with State & Federal law. The care, custody, and distribution of your firearms in the event of your disability or death is a not something to take casually. It is possible for your loved ones to be guilty of an accidental felony if they do not take special care with your guns in your absence.
Your Estate Plan should include clear instructions on the Who’s and How’s of gun possession and gun transfer in order to avoid some frightening unintended consequences. This may require a change to your existing estate plan or forming a separate Gun Trust. Significant changes to federal gun laws were made on January 4, 2016 that directly affect those with a federally licensed firearm. These changes go into effect in July of 2016 and you may need to take action before then.