Estate Planning Attorney

Sharing. It’s one of the first lessons we learn in life. And with a properly prepared and implemented estate plan, it’s one you’ll continue to practice – in one of the most meaningful ways possible – for generations.

We can guide you in crafting an estate plan that will improve the well-being and quality of life of those you care deeply about, one that will reflect your individuality, built around your voice, your values, and your beliefs. That means your plan not only can pass along what’s important to you but can provide taxasset, divorce and lawsuit protection while helping maximize your property values.

We’ll help you see the opportunities in front of you. We’ll provide practical, easy-to-understand answers to all your questions. And we’ll ask some of our own along the way, too, all to get at your core motivations and desires. We then can employ the right tools, strategies and techniques to overcome any obstacles that may exist and craft a plan specific for you, your family and, if applicable, your business.

Equally important, we’ll work with you to implement your plan, and we offer an affordable maintenance program that helps ensure your plan will work for you throughout your lifetime. Through annual reviews and meetings, we’ll modify your plan based on changes in law, taxes, or your own circumstances and life events, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, or a death in the family. If you have questions, we’ll be there. And when it’s time to pass along your wealth, we’ll be there for your family, too.

We provide counsel and service to individuals and families in the following areas

The lack of an effective estate plan can leave children vulnerable and facing potentially serious financial uncertainties in the event of a parent’s premature death. And the stakes are even higher in single-parent families, where the loss of the custodial parent means the likely end of the family unit and significant child care issues, such as providing a good home, education, stewardship and protection of their property, and custody and visitation rights. We can help create and implement sound planning that help ensure the best possible future for your children.

Life happens. This includes divorce, remarriage, and the blending of families. You may have adapted to changing circumstances and created new daily routines for yourself and those you love. That’s great and we applaud you. But have you considered the underpinnings of your life in the process? The structure of the plan you once put in place to protect and preserve your estate so carefully may no longer reflect the wishes, address the concerns, or accomplish the objectives you have today. You may also have acquired new assets by marriage, for which no estate planning has yet been done.

If you have vacation property, a family business, or a residence, for example, you may want to consider how a change in marital status affects the entitlement to those assets should you pass away. Whether you are the sole owner of such assets, or have acquired them through marriage, it makes sense to reconsider how your property will be distributed after you’re gone.

Our clients who have already been through a divorce, with or without remarriage, know from experience how emotional and complicated things can get. Wouldn’t you like to save your beneficiaries this kind of stress if you could? We can introduce you to estate planning tools that will protect, control, and transfer your assets and accumulations with due respect to everyone concerned, including your present spouse; children from a current marriage; and children from a former marriage or marriages, and will even attend to the possible remarriage of a surviving spouse.

Widows and widowers who have remarried after a life-long marriage may be unaware that this marriage grants preferential rights to the deceased spouse, not to the decedent’s family. The unintended fallout from this inconstant situation can be prevented with careful asset transfer planning.

Happily Ever After. But what if it isn’t? You can make the best of a difficult situation with careful planning. And the time to begin planning is before filing the divorce petition, followed by equally careful planning during the process of dissolution and continuing into the aftermath.

If you are going through or thinking about a divorce, we can answer the questions you already have, as well as questions that pop up along the way…the ones that can cause you to lose sleep. And don’t forget those questions you don’t even know to ask. It’s good to know that there is someone on your side, putting plans in place to protect and preserve your hard-earned assets and protect the intentions you have for your beneficiaries.

Among the matters that will be affected by your divorce are the terms of your will or trust, your life insurance policies, joint tenancies, retirement accounts, power of attorney arrangements, and so many more. Virtually every brick in the foundation of your estate will need to be picked up, looked over carefully, and repositioned to build your new life as a single man or woman.

Did you know that with proper planning, many kinds of property rights afforded married couples can be shared by unmarried couples, too? That’s right. Even if your union is unlicensed, you are still entitled to many of the same benefits that legal unions confer.

Whether you are living together before marriage, living together without plans to marry, were married and are now divorced, or are a widow or a widower, your committed relationship is a very real one that deserves the same preferential treatment as others under the law. It is hard to imagine right now, but any relationship can dissolve, and it is just as important for you to address couples’ rights and responsibilities in your relationship as it is for those in licensed unions.

It really doesn’t matter if you are a heterosexual or same-sex couple. You still face multiple obstacles when planning your estate. Unlike a spouse who acquires properties rights and privileges simply because they are a husband or wife, no such rights are acquired automatically by an unmarried partner or a person who is not party to a civil union, no matter how committed you are or how long that relationship lasts.

Among these properties and privileges are social security benefits, ERISA, one’s tax status, emergency medical decision-making powers, child custody and visitation rights, inheritance, tenancy, estate and gift tax matters and more. It’s time to think ahead. We can introduce you to estate planning tools that will protect and determine your rights concerning property, support and other rights upon dissolution of the relationship; and protect, control, and transfer your assets and accumulations with due respect to everyone concerned, including your present partner; children from a current partnership; and children from a former partnership or marriage.

Can your business survive a heart attack? Will there be a scramble in the wake of your absence? Or will there be a smooth transition into the hands of those who will carry on your reputation in the business community upon the transfer of your business ownership?

Foresight and planning can provide retirement income to a business owner who retires by choice or by incapacitation without forced liquidation, providing fair treatment of the owner’s children and a minimization of estate taxes without the sale of the business to outsiders.

Perhaps your concern is that you are ready to retire from the day-to-day operations of your business, but don’t wish to relinquish control entirely. Or you want your business to survive beyond your disability or death, but don’t know exactly how to deal with the challenges of planning a transition to the next generation.

We’ll give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you still can preserve your business as it stands today even if you’re not able to defend its future. We’ll match your needs and individual situation with today’s most effective tools for saving money and avoiding conflict, including:

• Self-cancelling installment notes
• Buy-sell agreements
• Private annuities
• Grantor annuity trusts
• Family limited partnerships
• Charitable remainder trusts

And because not every business stays in the family, we can help you fairly treat children active in the business as well as those who have taken another path, all to ensure the future of your business beyond your lifespan.

Congratulations on having a retirement savings plan. Statistics tell us that we are living longer, and you can look forward to being around to enjoy it! But are you aware of the income, estate, and penalty tax issues that will govern your yield, use, and transfer of this hard-earned capital?

When creating estate plans, people often give appropriate attention to using trusts and other tools to transfer non-retirement assets to their loved ones. But they often neglect what might be their most significant asset – their retirement plan funds. In other cases, they might designate their trust or child as beneficiary without understanding the ramifications. That’s why it’s vital to coordinate this asset with your documents and planning objectives.

We offer advice on:

• The tax advantages of retirement benefits
• Roth conversions
• Minimum required distributions, both during lifetime and after death
• Spousal rollovers
• Stretchouts
• Estate planning for retirement benefits
• Trusts as beneficiaries of retirement benefits

In order to get everything you are entitled to from your retirement savings, you must understand the distribution options and beneficiary designations available under plans and retirement assets, the types of investments that can be held within the qualified plan or IRA, how to optimize the income and estate tax benefits on all distributions, and coordinate retirement benefits within the context of your plan. Only in this way will you prevent costly errors and unintended results.

Dependents or loved ones with disabilities or circumstances requiring specialized care often are eligible for vital public support programs, but only if they have no personal holdings. That’s why without careful planning, family funds, an inheritance, or personal injury settlement can do as much harm as good.

We prepare special-needs or supplemental-needs trusts that structure benefits to allow the child with special needs to receive benefits – while the parents are alive and even after their passing – without affecting the child’s eligibility for aid.

You may be too busy living your life right now to consider all the options you have to provide security in your retirement years and for the inheritance you would like to leave for your beneficiaries. But a small investment in planning now will make these inevitable transitions as trouble-free as possible and you will thank yourself for it when the time comes.

Your investments, your home, insurance, IRAs, retirement plans, annuities, taxes, and provisions for long-term care are matters to consider now, when you are clear-headed, in control, and able to view the challenges faced by older citizens from afar. We focus on your individual situation today and analyze the steps ahead leading up to and including retirement, government benefits, healthcare, and insurance.