Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning

Having a valid will and sometimes an appropriate trust are necessary devices in estate plans. Having your affairs in order and planning for your family's future upon your death are essential to protecting your family and preserving your assets. Although it may be difficult to contemplate death, one cannot dispute its inevitability. The benefits of action far outweigh the hesitation you have in preparing a will or trust. Proper planning by an experienced estate planning lawyer will make your passing easier on your family and loved ones. Estate planning should be an inevitable part of life, and Campbell Flannery, P.C. can help make the task much easier.

There is a mistaken belief that you need an estate plan if your assets total millions of dollars. This is incorrect. Without question, if you have children you would be remiss not to plan for their future without you. Moreover, if you have a life insurance policy, a home, and other personal possessions, you should direct how those items are dealt with after you are gone. If you do not, Virginia law decides for you.

Campbell Flannery, P.C. will make estate planning less of a burden. Our skill and experience helps us advise you on the benefits of wills, trusts, living wills and medical directives, guardianships, and long term care planning. With proper estate planning, we can help you minimize or even eliminate estate and income tax consequences.

Trust Campbell Flannery, P.C. to assist you in making sure that your loved ones will be cared for after you are gone. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to speak with an experience estate planning lawyer. Get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have taken care of your family.

Wills and trusts help to organize your assets, decide how they will be distributed at your death, and to whom they will be distributed.  Campbell Flannery, P.C. can help you with all of your estate planning and administration needs. Our lawyers handle all aspects of the estate planning process, from drafting the simplest Will to the larger and more complex estate plan. By taking timely action we can help you minimize any potential estate tax liability through revocable trusts and other devices.

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Estate Planning - An Overview

Estate planning allows people to provide direction about the disposition of their assets after their death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts, as well as powers of attorney and health care directives. Both state and federal laws impact estate planning, and some may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for their situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs). Estate tax and other estate-related issues are hot legislative items, with new laws being passed on a regular basis. That's why a competent and experienced estate planning lawyer is an essential ally in assuring that your unique estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call one today.

Estate Planning Basic Documents

Estate planning is important for everyone, even if the estate is likely to be small. It allows a person to ensure that their property will go to the people they want, in the way they want, and when they want. It permits them to save as much as possible on taxes, court costs, and attorneys' fees - plus, it means that their families will have an easier time coping with the administrative and financial aspects of the loss.

All estate plans should include at least two important estate planning instruments: a durable power of attorney and a will. The durable power of attorney allows property to be handled during an individual's lifetime, without getting a court order. The power of attorney gives directions to a proxy who can carry out the individual's wishes if he or she is incapacitated. A will sets out the plan to distribute a person's property after his or her death. In addition to these planning instruments, many Americans today are using revocable (or "living") trusts to avoid probate and to manage their estates both during their lives and after they're gone. Medical directives can also be part of an estate plan; a health care proxy, a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, and medical instructions are documents to consider. These documents help with medical decisions should a person become incapacitated and unable to express his or her preferences.

Estate Planning & Financial Goals

Proper estate planning can help to increase the size of an estate, whether large or small. Its basic purposes are to (1) choose how property will be distributed after death, (2) help assure that property will be distributed in an orderly and efficient way, and (3) minimize taxes. Most estates pass to beneficiaries free of federal estate tax. A spouse can leave an unlimited amount to a surviving spouse without having it subject to federal estate tax. Currently, people can leave other survivors up to $2,000,000 (for the years 2006-2008) without paying federal estate tax. This amount will be raised to $3,500,000 in 2009. In 2010, it will be repealed and the estate tax is eliminated. However, in 2011, the estate tax is scheduled to return and the amount exempt from estate tax will be only the $1,000,000, unless Congress enacts additional legislation. Thus, under the current law, the federal estate tax is repealed only for those dying during the calendar year 2010. In addition to federal estate tax, state inheritance taxes, which vary from state to state, must also be considered.

Other Estate Planning Goals

In addition to reaching financial goals to provide for their beneficiaries, comprehensive estate planning includes ensuring one's security and peace of mind during their lifetime. To that end, asset protection strategies, health care directives, powers of attorney, and other estate planning devices are an integral part of the services that an estate planning attorney will provide. Although wills and trusts are the foundation of solid estate planning, businesses and tax planning may also play a role in developing the best possible plan in a given case. A professionally developed estate plan can be highly creative and tailored to meet the specific goals of each person.

Conclusion

No matter the size of a person's estate, every adult should protect themselves and the interests of their loved ones by developing some type of estate plan. For some people, this will be a will and durable power of attorney for health care and property. For others, a combination of a wills, trusts, business formation, and other estate planning devices will be in their best interest. If you have questions about estate planning or need to have estate planning documents drafted, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your unique estate planning needs are met.