Estate planning law governs the state and federal laws, procedures and practices associated with planning for one’s estate and the orderly transfer and control of assets if he/she becomes incapacitated or deceased. It encompasses, among other elements:
The roles and activities of executors, trustees and administrators
Associated tax issues
Creation and administration of legal documentation.
Legal documentation often reviewed during the estate planning process include:
Durable powers of attorney
Medical powers of attorney
Our firm’s estate planning practice also includes the probate of wills and representation of trustees in non-probate estate plans. Estate related tax issues, such as gift tax laws and federal estate tax, and various college savings plans are regulated by federal, as well as state laws.
A well-prepared Estate Plan can keep more money and property in the hands of a client’s beneficiaries, rather than turning over a larger portion than necessary to government entities. Proper planning allows you to minimize taxes and probate fees. It also allows you to designate charitable gifts and ensure that your assets are distributed as you intend. You can make provisions for your possible incapacitation by specifying your personal and health care preferences and provide funds to cover funeral expenses, plus immediate and/or long-term family living costs. If you own or manage a small business, an estate plan can ensure business continuity. You can also choose the individual(s) you want to carry out your instructions and care for your minor children.
An estate plan assures prompt economical and private distribution of your estate without the excessive involvement and expense of courts, attorneys and others. A clear estate plan will reduce or eliminate the likelihood of disputes over the distribution of your estate.
Estate planning is useful for businesses as well as individuals. In fact, in many cases, estate planning is a necessary addition to a well-planned and well-run business. For example, an estate plan is an integral part of a succession and multi-generational business plan.
C. Bruce Willis, II and H. Len Musgrove, Jr. assist Frank Ehman concerning the Estate Planning practice of the Firm.
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