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ESTATE LAW

Wills

Will sets forth the directions with respect to distribution of your assets after death. Without properly executed will, the laws of intestacy will apply. Many clients assume that the laws of intestacy will suffice, but it is not always the case. A will can make you accomplish a number of prerogatives:

  • distribute your life time earnings to your loved ones,
  • designate the guardian for your minor children, and make sure that their financial needs are met,
  • provide for a person with special needs,
  • minimize taxes,
  • support a charitable cause.

Trusts

Trusts are based on the concept that the property is held by one party for a benefit of another.

The trusts avoid a lengthy and costly probate, and assure a privacy. Living trusts are created during the life time of the grantor. Living trusts can be revocable and irrevocable. The revocable trusts can be modified at your wish. However, the irrevocable trusts provide tax benefits but are more rigid.

Testamentary trusts are created in the will, they do not avoid the probate but provide tax benefits.

Healthcare proxy

Healthcare proxy is document in which you give the power to another person, for example a family member, to make medical decisions for you after you have lost the ability to make decisions yourself. By appointing a healthcare agent you can make sure that healthcare providers follow your wishes.

You may give the person you select as your healthcare agent as little or as much authority as your wish.

Power of attorney

Power of attorney is a legal documents that is issued to delegate legal authority to a person you trust to make property, financial and other legal decisions for you in the event of illness or disability. The following legal powers may be granted to the person you trust (your agent):

  • buy or sell your real estate,
  • manage your property,
  • conduct your banking transactions,
  • invest your money,
  • make legal claims and conduct litigation,
  • attend tax and retirement matters, and
  • make gifts on your behalf.

Living will

Living will is an instrument which describes your preferences regarding the treatment if faced with a serious accident or illness. For instance, it spells out the types of medical treatment and life sustaining measures you want such mechanical breathing, tube feeding or resuscitation.

Probate and Administration

Probate is a legal process during which the will is submitted to the court for the determination of its validity, and the designated Executor is appointed to act on behalf of the deceased person. When the person dies without the will the process is called Administration. In both cases, the person in charge (either Executor or Administrator) gathers the assets of the decedent, pays the taxes and debts of the estate, notifies all heirs about the proposed distribution and distributes the estate.

Guardianship Proceeding

Guardianship Proceeding is a tool that family members can use to ensure that their loved one can live in the community as long as possible. It provides for the appointment of guardian for people in need for someone to be in charge of their person and property.

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