Estate planning involves the preparation of legal documentation designed to provide for the efficient management and disposition of one’s assets in the event of incapacity or death. The process begins with determining the nature and value of one’s resources, with particular attention to ownership of those assets, and considers the options for minimizing or eliminating multiple forms of taxation on the transfer of those assets. It is a process that continues with the inevitable changes in one’s family and financial circumstances.
It is essential to have a basic complement of documents, whether the primary issue concerns dividing assets fairly, appointing an executor, naming guardians for minor children, planning for avoidance or minimization of taxation, or all of the above. The key to security in addressing these priorities is the proper legal framework. In the basic estate plan, that framework is built around a Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney for financial matters and an Advance Medical Directive (Living Will) for health care decisions.
The legal practice area of “elder law” continues to expand as does our senior population. Often this practice involves complex legal issues facing senior clients and their families. I can assist you in helping to protect vulnerable seniors from financial exploitation, obtaining court appointments as guardians for incapacitated adults and conservators and planning for family members with special needs, most commonly through the establishment of a Special Needs Trust.
While most estates, trusts and guardianships are administered without a challenge or dispute, circumstances often rise to a level requiring the involvement of litigation counsel. Whether it involves the challenge to the validity of a Will, the removal of an executor, trustee or guardian, an issue which cannot be resolved by negotiation must be addressed by the judicial process. We are able to assist you in all phases of these types of litigated matters from the filing of the initial pleadings to the completion of trial.
We are able to provide counsel to those serving as executors, trustees, conservators, guardians, and attorneys-in-fact. We assist our clients in obtaining their initial appointment through the conclusion of the subject matter. We provide timely and accurate guidance to our fiduciary clients so that they may meet their fiduciary obligations to the estate, trust, or individual which has been entrusted to them.