Having your own estate plan is the one legal need every person has in his or her lifetime, regardless of age or financial means. At Teitle Law Offices, P.C., we are dedicated to helping create a plan which will allow your loved ones to move forward with the fewest complications and hassles in the future, giving you peace of mind that you have done everything possible to provide for them. A good estate plan will be both efficient and effective at fulfilling your intentions. Teitle Law Offices, P.C., can provide you with a range of options to ensure you have a solution suitable to meet your needs.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Your Last Will and Testament is the final expression of your wishes for the distribution of your property upon death. A Will is important because it ensures who will be in control of the process of dealing with your final financial affairs, and also allows you to name your preference as to who will care for your minor children in the event they are under the age of majority when you pass away. Wills not only allow you to avoid unintended consequences for your family, but also to make strategic tax choices, including leaving gifts to charities or non-profit organizations. A Will can also establish a future trust for your beneficiaries, to be administered according to your specific wishes, giving added flexibility to the planning process.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY AND LIVING WILLS
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document which names an agent to legally act on your behalf in certain matters. The agent can be a relative, friend, or even a financial institution or other entity. The most common types of Powers of Attorney are made to handle health care and financial decisions or actions. Many Powers of Attorney are designed to take effect only when you are unable to make decisions or handle your own affairs. Having a Power of Attorney can be critical in avoiding the need to for someone to go to court on your behalf to obtain a court order for guardianship or conservatorship. Sometimes it is important to have your Power of Attorney take effect right away, if a temporary absence or incapacity is expected. Teitle Law Offices, P.C., will help you make decisions about which Powers of Attorney are right for you.
A Living Will is a document which many people wish to have in place along with their health care Power of Attorney. Your Living Will is designed for incurable or irreversible medical conditions which will result in death within a short period of time. This document legally expresses the desire not to have life sustaining procedures or treatments maintained in circumstances where such measures will not result in recovery according to your physician. A Do Not Resuscitate order is different than a Living Will, and generally must be confirmed by an attending physician, but it can work in conjunction with a Living Will to implement your wishes.
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS
In some situations, it can helpful to place your assets in a trust during your lifetime. Revocable living trusts allow the person who establishes the trust to avoid the need for the probate process upon death, and add a measure of privacy to the administration of your final financial affairs. Further, although such trusts are more expensive to establish in the beginning, they can result in cost savings in the future, depending on the size of your estate. However, revocable living trusts also take maintenance during your lifetime, and aren’t recommended for everyone. Teitle Law Offices, P.C., can help you identify situations in which such a trust would be recommended or desirable.
At Teitle Law Offices, P.C., we have helped many families navigate through probate, which is the legal process by which the Will of the deceased is filed with the court. An administrator or executor handles the inventory of assets, identifies debts, files necessary tax returns, and distributes property in accordance with the terms of the Will. Probate is needed when assets held by a deceased person are not otherwise transferred by operation of law through joint ownership or beneficiary designations. Probate often takes at least four to six months to complete, and can take longer in certain situations. In making your estate plan, Justin will advise you on how to avoid the need for probate when practically possible, but if and when the time comes, he will give you the guidance required on how to handle the many questions which arise when a loved one passes away. Our practice is committed to serving you with compassion and dignity at these difficult times, and you are welcome to contact us with your inquiries.