What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is usually thought of as a few documents put together to legally redistribute assets and finances like life insurance, real estate, and personal belongings after someone dies, in the form of a last will and testament. While the last will and testament is crucial, there are other legal documents that need to be drafted to complete the full estate plan. These documents consider needs of family members, the property and other assets you own, your personal wishes, even end of life planning such as a Advance Medical Directive. It is an incredibly individualized process that requires an experienced, trusted estate planning attorney to complete successfully.
Who needs an estate planning attorney?
Everyone needs a personalized plan for his or her estate. It doesn’t matter your net worth – that just determines what is involved in creating the plan; that you need one is without question. We want to help you create the best plan for your circumstances, from the modest estate to a more comprehensive plan involving complex tax considerations and multiple trust documents.
Do I really need an estate plan?
Yes, you do!
It is a common misconception that only elderly people need to have estate plans, when really, it is wise for everyone over the age of 18 to have one in place in case of an emergency. When deciding if you need to create an estate plan, try and answer these questions for yourself:
- Do you want to make sure your belongings and assets are given to the right people?
- Do you want to ensure that someone you trust is handling your money and financial records?
- Do you want some of your finances to be donated to a charity you are passionate about?
- Do you want to decrease the chances of loss of your assets from estate taxes?
- Do you want to be able to control whether you are to be given CPR, or other life-saving choices regarding your health in an emergency?
- Is there someone in your life with special needs that you want to financially support?
- Is there someone you trust to make difficult choices regarding your health care for you?
- Do you want to protect your family from having to make the decision to “pull the plug?”
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, it’d be wise for you to create an estate plan. Without one, if you die, your family must guess your final wishes; or, you are leaving your assets in the hands of Virginia written law. Because these default laws may never truly satisfy your best interests, it is important to contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you draft an estate plan.
Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Probate Attorneys at Parks Ziegler
Our legal team of Virginia estate planning attorneys is committed to making the often-confusing process of wills, estates, and estate planning easy to understand for our clients. From the paralegals to the wills and trusts lawyers, we believe in a hands-on approach to ensure every issue is highlighted, addressed, and that the estate plan that is generated is the perfect fit for each individual client.
Caryn West, the principal partner in this practice area, has been practicing law for 18 years, with hands-on experience in a wide variety of Trusts and Estates matters throughout her career.
Everyone’s circumstance is different and a cookie-cutter, boilerplate estate plan that many firms offer does not do justice to the client’s life work which is being protected. We marry our technological advantages with personalized client attention to provide the best services possible.
The services we provide in this area include
- Estate Administration
- Medical Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Business Succession Planning
- Trust and Estate Litigation
What are the benefits of having an estate plan?
No matter your age or net worth, there are many benefits that ensue from having a solid estate plan in place. Besides having peace of mind, some of the other benefits include:
- Your assets will be guarded.
- You may be able to reduce your tax liability.
- You have the chance to decrease family conflict.
- Your family’s time and money is protected.
- Your final interests and wishes will be respected.
- You have a plan set in case of incapacity.
Understanding the Probate Process in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, And Roanoke
So, what happens if you or a loved one dies without an estate plan? If you or a loved one dies without an estate plan completed, the belongings and finances will be redistributed based on written Virginia law. The process is public, time-consuming, and can be expensive for the family. The final wishes of the deceased may not be fully implemented, and it is cam be an excessively difficult process for the family. Though this can be frustrating, the talented probate lawyers at Parks Ziegler will work with you or your loved ones going through the probate process.