Everyone has an “estate.” Planning for your estate consists of drawing up certain documents, usually a will (last will and testament), but no modern estate plan is complete without also putting together powers of attorney, an advanced healthcare directive (living will), a HIPPA authorization, and guardianship plans for minors, including for in an emergency. This is the level of planning that everyone should have in place.
Individuals in a more complex or challenging situation should look at trust-based planning. A trust is more than a will, in that it is a contract that lives beyond you. The contract is made between you and the future trustee, who is tasked with ensuring that your will, as laid out in the trust, is executed faithfully.
This is in contrast to a will, whose execution is overseen by the court and an executor, and then terminates. Trusts are used for a variety of purposes, the common of which is complex family situations. Trusts are also popular vehicles for protecting inheritances and for making charitable gifts.
Estate planning also interacts heavily with small business ownership, where business succession, control, and ownership can significantly impact a small business; and similarly, the estate and its assets are often tied up in or entangled with the small business. If you’re a small business owner, it’s good to have an estate planning lawyer who understands business law.
We help diverse individuals and families of all demographics, backgrounds, and circumstances work through difficult issues to develop solid estate plans that work for them. We would love the opportunity to work with you too.