Wills And Estate Planning Services
At Remley Law, S.C., our attorneys handle estate planning matters which is the area dealing with the distribution of an individual’s property at his or her death. This involves reviewing what you own, how assets are titled, and what your wishes are. If you want to discuss what you may need as an estate plan, please give us a call.
Our first step will be to schedule an initial consultation where we will discuss your goals and concerns as well as the different planning opportunities that may be appropriate for your situation. Prior to this meeting, we will send you a packet that will include more information about estate planning and will include a questionnaire that will guide you as to the important information that we will need to ensure you receive an estate plan that adequately meets your needs.
Having an up-to-date estate plan is essential to ensure that your wishes are carried out—whether it be who will control your finances if you are unable, who will make your health care decisions if you are unable, as well as who receives your assets after you pass away. Although no one likes to think about what will happen if something were to happen to them, through estate planning you can have comfort in knowing that you have a plan in place that will protect you, your assets, and your loved ones at such time.
Wills And Trusts
There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to estate planning. For some people, a last will and testament, combined with the re-titling of assets, meets their objectives. For others, the benefits of an irrevocable or revocable trust may be more advantageous. Some factors that may affect that decision include tax considerations, marital property considerations, and business considerations.
Although estate planning is important for individuals and couples of all ages, the needs and goals typically change as we age. For example, for parents of minor children, a typical goal is ensuring that their children will be taken care of through guardian designations and testamentary trusts to hold funds to support their young children. When it comes to planning for the elderly it is especially important to consider potential long-term care needs.
In addition to directing where your “stuff” will go when you pass away, estate planning also involves providing directions for the management of your assets and your care during your life. For example, if something were to happen to you such that you were unable to manage your finances, you would want someone you trust to be able to manage your property on your behalf while you are unable to do so. You can accomplish this by naming an agent through a durable power of attorney for property and finances.
If something were to happen to you such that you were unable to make health care decisions for yourself, you would want someone you trusted to make these decisions on your behalf while you were incapacitated. You can accomplish this by naming an agent through a health care power of attorney. You can also state your wishes for end of life care in a living will. Lastly, it will also be important to give your health care providers the authority to immediately speak with your agents through use of a HIPAA authorization.
Lastly, at death assets will need to be passed to a decedent’s intended beneficiaries. If the decedent has done proper estate planning, this probate process can be made easier for loved ones. However, if the decedent has any assets still titled in his or her name only, then a personal representative may need to initiate a probate proceeding to obtain court authority to transfer such assets. Probate can be a long, complicated, frustrating process if the rights steps have not been taken. As attorneys, our job is to try to make this process go as smoothly as possible for our clients, with the least amount of delay and expense.
A guardianship is used when a court determines that an individual is unable to effectively manage their own affairs. A minor is presumed under the law to be ‘impaired’ and requires a guardian. Others who are judged ‘incompetent’ or are found to be a ‘spendthrift’ may also require a guardian. Our attorneys can discuss your facts and explain the process necessary to create a guardianship, and if needed, a protective placement in an appropriate care facility.