Our Estate Planning attorneys and staff have years of experience working with individuals and families that are looking for the peace of mind that comes with an individually-tailored plan, including:
- Living trust
- Power of attorney
- Health care directives
- Guardianship for loved ones
- Special needs trust for special needs children
- And more based on your particular requirements
We understand the distinctive needs of business owners, independent contractors, and property owners in preparing specialized plans; instead of generic forms that may or may not meet your needs, we take the time to understand your specific requirements in order to prepare documents that accurately reflect your wishes.
From a simple will to a complete estate plan, our office is able to accurately assess your individual needs and create a plan that will protect your family members and assets.
We know how important these documents can be, and are pleased to now offer Estate Planning services ONLINE to reduce both the time and expense associated with preparation.
All of our ONLINE services include ATTORNEY REVIEW at no extra charge, which is an important distinction from other online offerings. We also feature SECURE SERVER hosting so that your information remains confidential.
We invite you to continue reading about our Estate Planning Services, and if you would like for Willbanks & Wood to generate documents at your direction, please click the link located below to receive an Email with information on how to begin.
You have lived your life making decisions. Your decisions have allowed you to accumulate property and other assets, and specific items and pursuits that are meaningful to you.
Without a plan in place, your wishes to continue your legacy are not legally communicated, often leaving important decisions in the hands of the legal system. This can mean a substantial emotional and financial burden on those you care about. Without your guidance, this can also result in confusion and controversy, which may take years to resolve.
Most importantly, you may lose the ability to determine how your assets are put to the best use for the benefit of your family, friends, or others such as charitable organizations.
We plan for the expected, whether a family vacation or buying a house. We plan for the unexpected with things like a ‘rainy day’ fund. We consider these events a normal part of living life.
A part of life that we often ignore, or put off until later, is planning for a future when we are no longer able to make decisions for ourselves or our families.
Though inevitable, sometimes the unexpected happens and our families are left with difficult decisions without the benefit of our experience.
Having the right plans in place now gives your family the benefit of your knowledge and experience, and provide you with the peace of mind that your affairs will be guided by your specific directives; all to the benefit of those you care about.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult time for any family. The ability to avoid Probate Proceedings can ease the burden on your family by significantly reducing or avoiding altogether the time and expenses associated with the transfer of assets after death.
The decision to create Estate Planning documents now can significantly reduce the burden on your family, and serve to ensure that your wishes are honored.
ESTATE PLANNING GENERAL GUIDELINES
Estate Planning is the process by which you establish legal documents that will control what happens to your property after you pass away. This process can also legally establish what you want to happen if you are seriously injured or incapacitated. Both wills and trusts perform the function of allowing you to arrange distribution of your assets upon death, but they operate differently. Deciding which document to use depends on a number of factors, including your goals, assets, your age and health, and family circumstances.
We welcome you to read the following as a basic understanding of how each of these legal documents function, and are available to answer any questions you may have in order to help you choose the right document based on your specific needs and goals.
What Are Living Trusts and Wills?
A will is a legal document that describes your estate and a person, group of people, or an entity that will receive your property. Depending on your specific wishes, you can specify instructions regarding care of minor children, gifts and other legal documents arrangements after your passing.
Trusts, and there are many different types available, are created to be managed by a trustee for the benefit of another person, persons, or entities, who are referred to as ‘beneficiaries’. The two basic types of trusts are ‘revocable’ and ‘irrevocable’. A revocable trust can be changed during the creator’s lifetime, while an irrevocable one cannot. It is important to note that, upon the death of the creator, a revocable trust converts to an irrevocable trust.
General Differences between a Will and a Trust:
Effective Date - A will only becomes legally effective upon the passing of the creator, while a trust can become legally effective immediately upon creation.
Probate Proceedings – A will requires that your assets pass through a court-supervised process called ‘Probate’, which can incur expenses and may take time to process. A trust is not subject to Probate (unless an issue within the trust needs to be addressed), and therefore can become effective immediately upon the passing of the creator.
Privacy – Once before the Probate Court, the content of a will becomes public information, while the contents of a trust remain private unless legal proceedings are filed.
Healthcare Directive – This is a written document that informs others of your wishes about your health care, and allows you to name a person to decide for you if you are unable to decide.
While a will may work for many people, if you hold assets such as real estate, or assets over $150,000, a trust may be the best option for you in order to achieve all of your goals.
If you would like to see pricing and availability of our ONLINE Estate Planning Services, and answers to many of our Frequently Asked Questions, please enter your information, and we will Email you login credentials to our secure Estate Planning Portal.