Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer

We want to protect our loved ones and our assets, but do you know what will happen at your death or in the event of a disability? When you have a spouse, children, or other people who depend on you financially, it is important to have a tailored estate plan to document your wishes in accordance with local law. By creating an estate plan, you can decide what happens to your property at the time of your death. Even more importantly, you can designate an agent to carry out health care and financial decisions, and the terms under which they may make such decisions.

A skilled attorney can offer advice about organizing your affairs and provide you with the ease that you have protected yourself, your assets, and those you love most. A Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer can help you develop an estate plan by addressing your concerns and goals.

Our Firm Handles the Following Types of Estate Planning Cases

Creating a Will for an Estate Plan

A Will directs the distribution of property after someone dies. It also names a person responsible for handling the deceased person’s estate. To administer an estate, the personal representative, often called an Executor or Administrator, must gather estate property, pay outstanding bills, and distribute any remaining property to the beneficiaries.

When someone dies without a Will, the law sets forth certain defaults. The default under the law, known as intestate succession, is that the surviving spouse gets all the decedent’s property, provided the decedent did not have children from outside of the marriage. If the decedent had children or grandchildren who are not related to the surviving spouse (step-children), then the surviving spouse would be entitled to one-third of the property, and the children, or their heirs in the event a child predeceased their parent, would split the rest equally. In default of a surviving, spouse, the children or other lineal descendants would split the entirety of the estate. Absent a surviving spouse or descendant, the right to inherit would fall to the parents, or otherwise to the decedent’s siblings and further on down the bloodline.

Many people would prefer to choose how their property passes at their death. When someone has a valid Will, it ensures their preferences guide the property distribution after they die. An estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach can draft a Will that meets all legal requirements and fulfills the person’s wishes.

General Durable Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is one of the most important documents in an estate plan because it empowers another person, referred to as an agent, to make financial decisions on your behalf. As a result, your choice of agent, and any successor agent, is critical to the success of your overall estate plan.

Many people do not understand that an agent has duties to follow the terms set forth in the power of attorney. If the agent takes action contrary to the authority provided in the power of attorney, then legal action may be taken against the agent as a result of the agent’s breach of duties.

Because these documents are so powerful, you should carefully consider the provisions you are putting in your power of attorney. An estate planning attorney in Virginia Beach can help walk you through your choice of agent and the powers that an agent should have.

Advance Medical Directives

An estate plan should also contain an advance medical directive, which is a document that sets forth an agent to make health care decisions when an individual becomes incapacitated. It also provides end of life instructions, setting forth an individual’s wishes as it pertains to life prolonging measures. A valid Advance Medical Directive could ensure a person’s wishes are honored and relieve family members of the burden of making life and death decisions.

Using Trusts and Other Probate Avoidance Tools

When a person’s assets pass through an estate, either through a Will or intestate succession, the personal representative must go through probate to administer the estate’s assets. This is a legal process, overseen by the court, to verify that the personal representative has properly collected the assets, paid outstanding claims and debts of the estate, and distributes the remaining balance to the proper beneficiaries of the estate. This process takes a minimum of six months but usually extends well beyond a year.

An estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach can recommend various tools that will accomplish the goal of avoiding probate. In simple cases, an attorney may recommend using joint ownership or beneficiary designations to transfer wealth upon death. In more complex situations, a trust may be utilized.

Trust a Virginia Beach Estate Planning Attorney with Your Needs

While no one wants to think about death or disability, considering what might happen is a gift to your family and friends. Taking time to create an estate plan will save those you leave behind from aggravation and heartbreak and ensure they know your wishes. A Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer can develop a plan that achieves your goals. Schedule an appointment today to speak with an experienced attorney at Parks Zeigler, PLLC about your options and how we can help.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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