Our firm’s wills and estates practice assists our clients in two broad ways:
One of the consequences of longer life expectancy is that individuals may in their lifetime become incapacitated and unable to make important personal decisions or take certain actions personally. We help our clients prepare for these possibilities by using the appropriate legal mechanisms to enable them appoint their own choice of trusted persons to make decisions and take actions on their behalf. Some of these legal mechanisms are: Durable Power of Attorney; Healthcare proxies; Advance health care directives; Living wills; Burial agent designation; and HIPAA authorizations.
Our attorneys work closely with clients in preparing their wills to ensure that all their qualifying assets are bequeathed to their desired beneficiaries. We make clients aware of any assets that cannot be conveyed in a will and use other mechanisms to ensure that as far as legally possible, such assets are disposed in a manner that benefits the desired beneficiaries.
Other services we offer include preparing and filing the appropriate documents required to probate the client’s will, helping the fiduciary in the marshalling of a deceased client’s assets and hiring any necessary appraisers, advising the fiduciary on tax elections and discounts including the use of disclaimers to reduce estate taxes where appropriate.
In addition to drafting wills for clients, we also offer estate planning services whereby we formulate a comprehensive plan that ensures that all of the client’s assets are accounted for and disposed in the most cost effective manner permitted by law. Some of the techniques we utilize in the plan include maximizing tax exemptions, lifetime trusts, charitable foundations, family limited partnership, and re-titling of assets.