We Help Make the Decisions that Affect Your Future
The foundation of your estate plan consists of consists of 6 main components:
• Wills and Trusts
• Durable Power of Attorney
• Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney
• Living Wills and Advance Direction for Medical Decisions
• Beneficiary Designation
• Guardian Designation for Minor Children
Having a comprehensive estate plan is important and will make you feel secure about the future and confident your loved ones will be taken care of. Essentially your estate includes everything you own or anything you could have an interest in, including investments, your home, or other real estate, business interest, and personal property. It also encompasses assets you may not typically think of, such as life insurance policies, certain annuities, certain trusts, and joint accounts you own with your spouse or with someone else. A good estate plan should also do the following:
Additionally, and importantly, estate planning is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. An estate plan should be reviewed every 7-10 years or after a birth in the family as well as a death of a named individual in the trust.
Estate planning is the arrangement of tasks that serve to manage an individual's assets in the event of incapacitation or death. Such tasks include planning and executing the Estate Plan by making a will, Trust, and various other important documents. Additional tasks include determining who will manage the individual's assets, and how will they be preserved and distributed after death.
What is a Special Needs Trust (SNT)
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a legal document and a fiduciary relationship that allows a physically or mentally disabled or chronically ill individual to receive income without reducing their eligibility for governmental assistance benefits. Funds distributed un a SNT must not be used to supplant or replace public assistance benefits in anyways.
SNT is a popular strategy for those who want to help someone with special needs without taking the risk of that person losing their governmental assistance benefits.
There two main types of SNT. The first type of SNT is called the First Party Trust and the second is a Third Party Trust.
A First Party Trust essentially is where the beneficiary, under the age of 65 with special needs who unexpectedly has an inheritance or has excess saving and puts his or her own funds into a trust of his or her own accord.
A Third Party SNT is where a third party establishes a SNT trust with their own personal assets on behalf of a beneficiary. The Trust must also be under the complete control of someone other than the primary beneficiary.
Additionally, there is a third type of SNT often referred to as a Pooled SNT. A Pooled SNT trust is somewhat of a cross between a 401(k) and a transition Third Party SNT. Beneficiaries do not get their own document, i.e. SNT, but instead they join the trust and establish an account for their own )sole) benefit. Often a Pooled SNT will serve a specific population.
The tax consequences of SNTs are also very complex. To best decide what sort of SNT your loved one may need.
Please call our office to discuss in greater detail.
Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.
While probate is not automatically triggered upon the death of an individual who died intestate, distribution of the decedent's estate becomes more complicated. Because there is no documentation stating the decedent's final wishes, it is up to the courts to handle the proceeding and make decisions for you. I have worked on dozens of probate matters and know how stressful and emotionally draining it can be.
The Administration of an Estate is where the person in charge of the Estate Plan, usually referred to as an Administrator or Personal Representative begins compiling assets in order to administer the assets as transcribed in the decedent's Estate Plan. Aside from compiling assets, the Administrator will have to read all interested parties, locate all interested persons, including heirs, successors trustees, current and remaining beneficiaries. Retain legal counsel to assist you with the trust administration duties, and divide trust assets as required under the terms of the trust.
My firm understands that the foundation of any successful business begins with the appropriate legal structure. Thus we get involved with our clients and the structure of their new business entity, by drafting the Articles of Incorporation or Organization, Bylaws, Operating Agreements, Shareholder or Partnership Agreements, Minutes, EIN, First Organizational meetings, and various other documents, contracts and policies necessary.
Drafting a contract is the process of explicitly writing down material terms and conditions of an agreement. The ultimate goal of a contract is to create a legally binding document in writing that is clear, concise, and as close to the party's intention as possible.
Contract review is a process used to identify and analyze the key material terms within an agreement. My firm will read each contract thoroughly to understand the terms and conditions, and look for loopholes to make sure our clients are protected once the contract is signed.
Business Litigation emcompasses murous legal issues including: Breach of Contract, Real Estate Disputes, Automotive Industry issues, Employment, Partnership disputes, Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duties, and so much more.
Many times, business disputes can be resolved quickly out of court, however, if settlement cannot be reached, my firm is able to manage both minor and complex legal concerns, including lawsuits. Whether you're an individual involved in a dispute or a company in and out of court, my firm strives to obtain the best possible outcomes.
Non-contested family matters include noncontested divorces, where parties agree on all the major issues.
My firm also drafts premarital and postmarital agreements and has worked with dozens of clients.