Everyone needs an estate plan. It is common to plan an estate by using a last will and testament or a living trust. Utilizing a revocable living trust allows an individual to avoid his or her estate passing through probate upon death. However, use of a trust or will is essential for maintaining control over who inherits your property and who is responsible for taking care of your estate upon your death. If you have young children, you need to appoint a guardian for them in the event you are unable to care for them.
You also should consider including a trust for the children in your estate plan that specifies terms for payments of the children’s health, education, and support needs until they reach a designated age. In addition, you can provide creditor protection for your children’s inheritance by structuring your own trust in an appropriate manner. That means that the inheritance you leave them cannot be diminished by ex-spouses and litigious creditors.
Another essential component of a basic estate plan is planning for incapacity. Everyone should have a health care power of attorney or advance health care directive, in which you appoint an agent to make medical and health care decisions if you are unable to do so. A “living will” or “declaration to physicians” conveys your wishes to your physician with regard to sustaining your life by use of long term life-support systems.
In addition, we offer high-net worth estate, tax and business planning. Frequently, those with large estates or family businesses wish to protect assets from creditors for generations to come, make substantial gifts to charity, plan for survival and succession of a family business or ranch, structure a business or ranch to minimize income taxes, and plan to avoid or reduce estate and income taxes after the first generation’s deaths. Julie Edwards, Bob Leonard and Stefanie Milam (hyperlink to individual attorney pages) have substantial experience in assisting high-net worth individuals, families and business owners plan their businesses and estates to accomplish all of their objectives in the most expeditious and effective manner.
We can also assist families who are faced with Medicaid and Long Term Care issues when a loved one needs the care and treatment that can be provided by a nursing home or assisted living facility. Medicaid and long-term care planning is critical and, generally, the earlier you being the process, the more favourable results you can achieve.
We also have significant expertise in assisting employers with structuring employee welfare benefit plans to provide your employees medical, life insurance, and retirement benefits.
Please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your Estate Planning, Tax and Business Planning needs today.