Estate Planning

We understand that planning for the future or unforeseen events is difficult, but important for you and your family. We are here to help.

Probate

If you do not have a living trust when you pass away, your loved ones might have to file a court action to get your property. This process is called probate.

Probate is a court proceeding that settles a deceased person’s estate, which includes settling debts and distributing a deceased person’s property to his or her heirs. Probate requires every step to be supervised by the court and the final distribution of assets pass according to law. Probate can be difficult, both emotionally and financially.

A probate action involves significant court costs and legal expenses for your loved ones. It is also a lengthy process and often takes well over a year to finalize.

When a probate is necessary, we work closely with our clients to ensure the process is effortless, thorough, and clear.

Trusts, Wills, and Powers of Attorney

Trusts

Make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes by creating a living trust.

In order to avoid the cost and expense of probate, our attorneys are here to guide you through your estate planning needs and prepare a living trust. Trusts help prevent your assets from going to probate and also help to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Living trusts are revocable and can be amended. So if your circumstances change, you are not bound by the terms of your trust.

Wills

In addition to drafting trusts, our attorneys work closely with clients to draft wills.

Wills, like trusts, allow you to designate how your assets are to be distributed to your loved ones or beneficiaries. A will allows you to allocate assets and is also useful when minors are involved.

Certain wills, such as pour-over wills, also function alongside trusts and add additional peace of mind.

Occasionally, a trust is not necessary for a client and one of our attorneys may recommend drafting a will instead. Contact one of our attorneys to get a clear understanding of your estate plan so you can better plan for your future.

Powers of Attorney

Another important aspect of estate planning is a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the power to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so (e.g. dementia, incapacity, etc.).

A power of attorney is in effect for only as long as you are alive, and the powers of the attorney-in-fact range from managing financial matters to providing for medical and personal care.

In the event you do not have a valid power of attorney and become incapacitated or otherwise unable to act for yourself, your loved ones would have to spend thousands of dollars filing a conservatorship action in court to get appointed as your personal representative.

Certain wills, such as pour-over wills, also function alongside trusts and add additional peace of mind.

Occasionally, a trust is not necessary for a client and one of our attorneys may recommend drafting a will instead. Contact one of our attorneys to get a clear understanding of your estate plan so you can better plan for your future.

Full Estate Plan

We work with clients to create an individually tailored estate plan to meet their needs. Our office can help you prepare a full estate plan to better prepare for the unforeseeable events in their future.

Our tailored estate planning package includes the following documents:

  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Certification of Trust
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Personal Care Power of Attorney
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • HIPPA Release
  • Deeds to transfer real property
  • Assignment of property in trust


With our comprehensive estate plan, we ensure that your goals are protected and that your loved ones receive what you want without undue delays or unnecessary legal fees and costs. We take pride in the fact that our clients have peace of mind knowing their estate is in order and that they are protected during difficult times.

Request a Consultation:

Please contact us to discuss your estate planning needs in detail.

Estate Planning FAQ


Estate planning is a comprehensive process that involves making arrangements for the management and distribution of one’s assets, wealth, and personal wishes upon their death or incapacitation. It encompasses various legal tools such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, tailored to ensure that an individual’s financial legacy and personal wishes are carried out according to their intentions. Estate planning is crucial as it allows individuals to exercise control over their assets and make decisions that can protect their loved ones’ financial well-being and ease the burden of administrative complexities during difficult times. Proper estate planning can minimize potential conflicts, reduce tax liabilities, and ensure a smooth transition of assets, ultimately providing peace of mind for both individuals and their families.

Estate planning is relevant for individuals of all walks of life, regardless of age, wealth, or family situation. It’s not just reserved for the affluent; anyone who possesses assets, financial accounts, or personal belongings, irrespective of their value, can benefit from an estate plan. Whether someone is a young adult starting their career, a parent providing for their family, or a retiree enjoying their golden years, having an estate plan in place ensures that their wishes regarding asset distribution, healthcare decisions, and guardianship matters are respected. By proactively creating an estate plan, individuals can safeguard their interests and ease potential burdens for their loved ones during times of incapacity or after their passing.

An estate plan typically encompasses several key documents tailored to an individual’s unique circumstances and wishes. A last will and testament is a foundational component, outlining how assets should be distributed and appointing guardians for minor children, if applicable. Living trusts can also be established to manage assets during one’s lifetime and facilitate their efficient transfer upon death, often avoiding the probate process. Powers of attorney grant trusted individuals the authority to make financial and legal decisions in the event of incapacitation, while healthcare directives or living wills outline preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care. Beneficiary designations for retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial assets are also crucial to ensure seamless asset distribution. Collectively, these documents form a comprehensive estate plan that reflects an individual’s intentions and provides a roadmap for their loved ones during critical life events.


A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a foundational legal document within an estate plan that outlines an individual’s wishes for the distribution of their assets and the management of their affairs after their passing. In a will, individuals can specify how their property, personal belongings, real estate, and other assets should be divided among beneficiaries. Additionally, a will can appoint guardians for minor children, name an executor to carry out the terms of the will, and even establish trusts for the benefit of loved ones. While a will is a crucial element in guiding the asset distribution process, it does typically go through probate court, which can lead to potential delays and costs. As such, individuals with more complex estates may choose to incorporate other estate planning tools, like living trusts, to complement the benefits of a will and streamline the distribution process.

A living trust differs from a will in estate planning by offering a more versatile and potentially streamlined approach to asset management and distribution. Unlike a will, which becomes effective upon an individual’s death and typically goes through the probate process, a living trust goes into effect during the grantor’s lifetime and continues after their passing. Assets placed within the trust are managed by a chosen trustee, who can be the grantor themselves or someone else, following the guidelines set out in the trust document. Living trusts can help avoid probate court proceedings, which can be time-consuming and costly, leading to quicker asset distribution to beneficiaries. They also offer privacy, as trust documents usually remain private compared to wills, which become public record. While a will primarily focuses on asset distribution and guardianship, a living trust provides greater flexibility for managing assets, accommodating incapacity scenarios, and even providing ongoing care for beneficiaries.

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants a designated individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to make financial, legal, and sometimes medical decisions on behalf of the person creating the document, known as the principal. This essential component of estate planning becomes crucial in situations where the principal becomes incapacitated due to illness, injury, or other circumstances. By designating a trusted agent through a power of attorney, individuals ensure that their financial affairs can be managed smoothly, bills can be paid, and legal matters can be addressed even when they are unable to do so themselves. This document offers peace of mind by facilitating prompt decision-making and safeguarding the individual’s interests during times of vulnerability, minimizing potential disputes and disruptions in financial matters and ensuring that their wishes are upheld.

Healthcare planning is an integral aspect of estate planning that addresses an individual’s medical and end-of-life preferences. This often involves creating documents such as a living will or advance healthcare directive, which outline the individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment, life support, and organ donation in the event they become unable to communicate their choices. Additionally, a healthcare power of attorney allows individuals to appoint a trusted person, known as a healthcare proxy, to make medical decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so. By incorporating healthcare planning into their estate plan, individuals can ensure that their medical preferences are respected, relieve their loved ones from the burden of making difficult decisions, and provide clear guidance to medical professionals during critical moments, ultimately promoting a sense of control and comfort during challenging times.

A living will, often referred to as an advance healthcare directive, is a crucial component of an estate plan that outlines an individual’s medical wishes and preferences in the event they are unable to communicate or make decisions due to incapacitation. This document specifies the types of medical treatments an individual would like to receive or refuse, particularly in situations where there is no hope of recovery or when prolonging life might result in undue suffering. By including a living will in their estate plan, individuals ensure that their healthcare choices are respected, relieving their loved ones from the emotional burden of making these difficult decisions on their behalf. This legal document offers peace of mind and empowers individuals to maintain control over their medical care, ensuring that their values and beliefs are upheld even when they cannot advocate for themselves.


Yes, estate planning can be instrumental in minimizing taxes for your beneficiaries. Through strategic planning, individuals can employ various techniques to reduce potential tax liabilities associated with transferring assets to their heirs. For instance, establishing trusts can allow for the preservation and controlled distribution of assets while potentially minimizing estate taxes. Gifting strategies, such as annual exclusion gifts and lifetime gifting, can also help reduce the taxable value of an estate. Properly structured life insurance policies can provide tax-free benefits to beneficiaries. Moreover, taking advantage of applicable tax exemptions and deductions, such as the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption, can significantly reduce the tax burden on an estate. Consulting with financial and legal professionals who specialize in estate planning can provide valuable insights into tailored strategies to optimize tax efficiency for the benefit of your heirs.


The role of a trustee in estate planning is vital, as they are entrusted with the responsibility of managing and administering the assets placed within a trust for the benefit of designated beneficiaries. A trustee’s duties include overseeing the assets, making investment decisions, distributing income and principal according to the terms of the trust document, and ensuring that the trust’s objectives align with the wishes of the grantor (the person who established the trust). Trustees are legally bound to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, exercising prudence, transparency, and diligence in their decision-making. Depending on the complexity of the trust and the assets involved, the role of a trustee can encompass a range of tasks, from financial management to ensuring compliance with legal requirements. Choosing a trustworthy and capable trustee is essential to ensure the proper execution of the trust’s intentions and the well-being of the beneficiaries.


The frequency of updating your estate plan depends on various factors, including changes in your personal circumstances, financial situation, and relevant laws. Generally, it’s advisable to review and update your estate plan every three to five years or whenever significant life events occur, such as marriage, divorce, birth of children or grandchildren, changes in financial assets, relocation, or changes in your health. Additionally, it’s essential to stay informed about any alterations to tax laws or regulations that could impact your estate plan. Regularly revisiting and updating your estate plan ensures that it remains aligned with your current wishes and circumstances, minimizing the risk of outdated or ineffective provisions and maximizing its effectiveness in safeguarding your assets and carrying out your intentions.

If you pass away without an estate plan in place, your assets and affairs will be subject to the laws of intestacy in your jurisdiction. Intestacy laws determine how your assets will be distributed among your heirs based on predetermined rules, which may not align with your preferences. Typically, your estate will go through probate court, a potentially time-consuming and costly process, where the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of assets according to legal guidelines. Without a will, your wishes regarding guardianship for minor children, specific bequests, charitable donations, and other personal decisions may not be honored. To avoid this situation and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your intentions, it’s crucial to have a well-structured estate plan that outlines your wishes and designates how your affairs should be managed after your passing.

Yes, estate planning can play a role in protecting your assets from creditors to a certain extent. By utilizing legal tools such as irrevocable trusts, you can transfer ownership of certain assets beyond the reach of creditors. These trusts, when properly structured, may shield assets from potential claims, as the assets are no longer considered part of your estate. However, it’s important to note that fraudulent transfers or attempts to evade legitimate debts can be challenged in court. Engaging in proper estate planning can help safeguard your assets and limit exposure to potential creditors, but consulting with legal and financial professionals is crucial to ensure that your actions are within legal bounds and aligned with your goals.


Estate planning can play a pivotal role in ensuring a seamless transition of your business by providing a clear roadmap for its continuity and succession. By designating successors, whether family members, employees, or external parties, through a well-structured succession plan, you can ensure that leadership and ownership of the business are transferred smoothly. Incorporating tools such as buy-sell agreements, trusts, and life insurance can help provide funding mechanisms for the transition, while minimizing potential disputes and disruptions. Effective estate planning also considers tax implications and addresses potential challenges that may arise during the transition process. Ultimately, a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your business needs ensures that your hard work is preserved and your legacy continues, while mitigating potential obstacles and ensuring a successful handover.