Probate, Trusts, Wills and Estates

Preparing for your family’s and loved ones’ future by crafting an estate plan that may include a Will or Trust that provides for the easy transfer of your assets is one of the most important legacies your can leave your family. Too often unexpected and unnecessary tax consequences and family disputes arise because an estate plan was not properly considered and established. Powers of attorney, health care directives, transfer on death deeds, living revocable trusts, life estates, insurance and retirement account beneficiary designations are just some of the issues important to consider in your estate plan.

It is important to know the consequences of placing another’s name on an account for “convenience,” the tax implications of transferring a home or cabin to a child prior to death, and the effect of naming beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement plans. Gifting can be an important current benefit to your love ones but can have serious tax implications later and may become a burden on those loved ones and you if long -term care becomes necessary.

When a probate is necessary many find the probate process much simpler and less expensive than is often believed. An experienced attorney can assist the personal representative in gathering the assets, paying the bills, preparing the necessary tax returns and distributing the assets to the heirs and beneficiaries in a very timely manner.

Trusts are an excellent tool for many people to facilitate the transfer of their assets outside of probate and to assist in the management and preservation of their assets for themselves, their spouse, children and grandchildren. Determining whether a trust is beneficial and cost effective for you is an important decision when preparing your estate plan.