Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning
Regardless of your age or wealth, there are many reasons to have an estate plan of your own
At UHB our estate planning attorneys provide a full range of services to meet all your estate planning needs. We will work with you to create a complete, comprehensive plan to preserve your wealth and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Estate planning documents such as a Last Will and Trusts along with advanced directives such as a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy are needed to avoid uncertainty and litigation. We have the tools, knowledge and experience necessary to give you and your family financial security and, ultimately, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a properly designed and implemented plan in place for the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need an estate plan?
Many people assume that the laws of their state will appropriately distribute their property to family members. That is true to a certain extent, however, you give up a lot of rights and possibly some of your wealth if you fail to plan. An estate plan can help you ensure that your intentions for your assets are met, prevent disputes, reduce stress for your family at a difficult time and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
What is a Will?
A will is a document that details specific directions on who will receive your property after your death. It names a personal representative (Executor) to oversee the implementation of your will. It names guardians who will care for your dependents and any property of your dependents. After your death, your agent is required to file the will with the court for possible probate.
What is probate?
Probate is the formal legal process of proving that a will is valid and appointing an executor who will administer the terms of the will. The probate process also ensures that the estate pays taxes, settles debts and distributes assets to the intended beneficiaries.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint an agent to act on your behalf and make decisions on financial matters should you become incapacitated. The document needs to clearly state what powers your agent has while you are incapacitated. For instance, writing checks, depositing funds, making financial decisions for your business, etc. If you are incapacitated without these legal documents then you and your family may become involved in a guardianship proceeding. The Durable Powers of Attorney expire upon your death.
What is a Guardianship Proceeding?
This is a probate court procedure where the court determines who should make decisions for someone that is unable to make their own decisions due to incapacitation.
What is a Living Will or Health Care Directive?
A living will or Health Care Directive is a document which will express your feelings about life-sustaining treatments should be become incapable of expressing your wishes. It will let your loved ones know if you do or do not want extreme measures to sustain your life. You can also indicate if you are willing to be an organ donor. A representative is named to ensure your wishes are carried out.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a document that functions like a will — you use it to leave your property to your heirs, friends and family. However, it has much greater flexibility than a will. You can set certain conditions on when and how the money may be distributed. Assets in a trust also avoid the probate process. This can save your beneficiaries unneeded time and expense and keeps the assets a private matter. A trustee is named to ensure your wishes for distribution are carried out. There are several different types of trusts. If a trust is appropriate your estate planning needs, our attorneys will discuss the options with you.