Wills, Trusts and Estate PlanningAt Schleiffarth Law Firm LLC, we work closely with each of our clients to develop an estate plan that meets their goals and expectations, thoroughly prepares them and their family for the future and provides peace of mind. We prepare wills, trust, powers of attorney, real estate documents and numerous other instruments as part of a comprehensive plan for your family.
Documents often included in an estate plan include:
Last Will and TestamentA Will designates the recipients of property upon an individual’s death, ranging from personal items, to bank accounts, to a family residence. In addition to creating the scheme and details for gifts up death, a will should include provisions that nominate guardianship for minor children, nominate a personal representative of the estate and grants gift to specific charities or other organizations, if so desired. In some circumstances, a Will can be used to create simplified “testamentary trust” to be formed upon death.
Revocable Living TrustA Revocable Living Trust is created during your life, and you typically transfer the bulk of your assets into the trust. This trust can be revoked at any time by the grantor (i.e. you, the creator) of the trust. You typically serve as both the “trustee” managing the assets, as well as the “beneficiary” for the benefit of whom the assets are being held/owned by the Trust. Benefits of of having a trust as part of your estate plan include (1) avoidance of probate, (2) detailed incapacity planning, (iii) the ability to implement a more detailed plan for asset distribution, (iv) the ability to control assets after your death, and (v) potential estate tax reduction or elimination.
General Durable Power of AttorneyA General Durable Power of Attorney is a key component of anyone’s life and estate plan. Life circumstances may place an individual in a physical or mental condition where they are unable to make or execute key financial and personal decisions for themselves. A General Durable Power of Attorney addresses these concerns and circumstances by granting a named individual (called the “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to act in your behalf with respect to your personal and financial affairs. These documents are very flexible and we work hard to prepare an instrument that is carefully adapted to meet the needs and wishes for your particular circumstances.
Power of Attorney for Health Care and Advance Health Care DirectiveA Power of Attorney for Health Care grants a named individual (often a spouse or other family member or close friend) the authority to make certain health care-related decisions on your behalf. Typically, this document would grant authority to a spouse, close friend or family member to make decisions for you in the event you are not in a physical or mental state to be able to do so.
An Advance Health Care Directive specifies the type and level of health care (or life support) that you want to receive in certain circumstances, if you are unable to effectively communicate your wishes. Typically, an Advance Health Care Directive would indicate life saving/prolonging procedures that you do not want to have applied to you. It is generally advised that you have both a Power of Attorney for Health Care and an Advance Health Care Directive.
Other Types of TrustsThe unique circumstances of each client and their family dictates the estate plan that we recommend and prepare. Based on our discussions with our clients and their unique goals, we may prepare a variety of types of trusts including, Special Needs Trusts, Spendthrift Trusts, Asset Protection Trusts, Testamentary Trusts, ILIT Trusts and Martial Deduction Trusts.
Tax PlanningWe take tax planning and reduction very seriously. While not all individuals face potential estate tax liability, many do, and we work closely with our clients to reduce and even often eliminate estate tax liability.
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