Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning
Let Michael's 30+ years of legal experience help protect your family
Michael has been providing Will, Trust and Estate Planning services to clients for over 30 years. He will work closely with you and your family to ensure that the assets you have accumulated over a lifetime are transferred to those you designate. Michael has worked with all types of families and individuals in crafting estate plans and documents to meet their varied needs and desires.
There is a common misconception that only the wealthy need estate planning. A properly drafted estate plan can protect families of all income levels. Getting your affairs in order is one of the most important things you can do for your family. You want the assets you have built over a lifetime to go to the people you want to have them.
Regardless of the size of your estate, a thoughtful estate plan is necessary for peace of mind and the assurance that your family will be as secure as possible after your death. A small investment of time and money now will pay huge returns in minimizing uncertainty and maximizing the value of your estate when it passes to your beneficiaries. Especially for those who have family members who rely on you for support, preserving and protecting your assets for transfer after your death should be a top priority.
Some of the various Estate Planning documents Michael routinely prepares for clients are:
Last Will and Testament. Every estate plan should include a Will, which clearly sets forth the intentions of decedents regarding who they wish to act as their executor, who will inherit their estate, and who will become the guardian of their minor children.
Nontraditional Family Estate Planning. Nontraditional families with step-parents and step-children may require special consideration in developing an estate plan that will reflect the intentions of the transferor.
Trusts. Trusts are legal instruments by which owners of property or assets, known as Grantors, transfer their assets to a trust and then designate a Trustee to administer and manage the assets for the benefit of the Beneficiaries. Living Trusts can be created and funded during the Grantors’ lifetime. Usually, Grantors of a living trust will designate themselves as both the trustee and the beneficiary. At the time of the Grantor’s death, the assets can either remain in the trust for the benefit of the Beneficiaries or be distributed according to the terms of the trust.
Living trusts are revocable trusts, which can be changed by the Grantor, and which are generally subject to estate tax. Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, cannot be changed once created and are generally not subject to the estate tax. Trusts offer some advantages over Wills. Specifically, the assets that are held in a trust are not subject to probate so they can be distributed more quickly and with fewer costs than those assets that pass through probate. In addition, trust assets can be kept private and confidential, unlike assets that pass through probate and become a part of the public record.
Whether you need a trust depends on your assets, family situation and goals. If you have minor children, a trust is an efficient way to administer and hold a child’s inheritance until the age or ages you specify. Trusts can also help you accomplish specific objectives such as wealth preservation or minimization of estate taxes.
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