Estate planning at the Mark Allen Law Office is more than just filling out legal forms. We listen to what your wishes and desires are for how you want things managed after your death, and work to produce a plan that reflects those wishes.
Our Estate Planning practice focuses on Wills, Living Trusts, Charitable Giving, Planning for Pets, Planning for Incapacity, Trust Administration, and Trust Funding.
A will allows you to both name who you want to be in charge of your affairs after your death and gives instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. In order to transfer assets after you die, your heirs will need to go through a procedure called Probate. Without a will, disputes may arise between family members regarding how to distribute your assets, and who is best suited to be entrusted with the care of your minor children. Having a will in place makes this process easier, eliminates most disputes, and allows for your wishes to be granted and assets to be distributed as you desire.
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust. Like a will, a Revocable Living Trust lets you make decisions today about what happens to your assets when you die. In addition, a Revocable Living Trust allows you to make decisions that to meet your needs and those of your family during your lifetime:
- A trust provides for the management of your assets during your lifetime and names someone to assume responsibility for them if you become disabled and when you die.
- While you are alive and able, you determine how your assets are to be managed.
- During periods of disability and after your death, your assets are managed in accordance with your written instructions in the trust instrument
- Your estate may avoid the expenses and fees of probate upon your death.
- With special planning, a trust can help lower or avoid estate taxes, as well as allow you to set special provisions for minor or disabled children.
Revocable Living Trusts are subject to amendment or termination according to the terms of the trust agreement.
A number of types of irrevocable trusts are available to provide substantial estate tax savings, shelter assets, or to provide funding for long term care. Such trusts require careful planning.
In our practice, we regularly raise the issue of planned philanthropy with our clients and help them better understand the financial impact of their choices. There are a variety of ways to structure a charitable legacy; the correct option for you depends on your current financial (and tax) situation, what you expect your situation to be in the future, and your goals and objectives for your giving. Our firm can help you decide which vehicles and instruments work best for you.
Planning for Pets
Today more people are arranging for the care of their pets after they pass by establishing a Pet Trust. Your pet cannot receive or hold cash or property, but a Pet Trust allows property to be held by a person (the trustee) for the benefit of your pet.
Planning for Incapacity
Planning for incapacity is one of the most crucial steps you can take during your lifetime to ensure that if you are ever injured or become ill and unable to make decisions, you will be treated and your health managed in a way that you would have chosen. There are several documents through which you can outline your wishes, including.
- Revocable trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Advance medical directives
We will take the time to understand your unique and individual situation and wishes. We tailor our services and approach to each client, meticulously developing a plan that will provide confidence that his or her wishes will be followed when he or she is no longer capable of expressing his or her wishes.
The role of trustee can be intimidating because it is a huge responsibility, regardless of the size and nature of the trust. Trustees have a legal responsibility to carry out the purposes and serve the beneficiaries established the trust, and they can be pulled between the competing interests of beneficiaries. With help from an experienced estate planning lawyer, however, trustees can receive the guidance and counsel required to succeed in this role.
Our practice is dedicated to assisting individuals, families, and corporate fiduciaries with estate planning matters, including advising and counseling trustees throughout the trust administration process. We also have the experience and knowledge required to represent executors and trustees through a wide range of concerns, including trust modifications, trust divisions, terminations of trusts and similar matters.
We believe that success for your estate plan includes proper funding (or re-titling) of your assets into your newly created Revocable Living Trust. By funding your trust, it helps ensure that your assets will be governed by the instructions established by you. Ultimately, trust funding helps you meet certain objectives such as avoiding probate and minimizing estate taxes.