An investment in planning can make a big difference to yourself and to your loved ones. Through proper planning you can create the tools for efficient management of your affairs during your lifetime and for an orderly transition upon your death.
Patsy’s goal is to help you assess the particular needs of yourself and your family. She will help you identify your primary goals, such as avoiding the cost or time of probate, simplifying the process for your family, providing for minors, etc. She informs you of the legal and tax aspects of different plans. Patsy will help you to make decisions about your plan, and she will tailor your documents to meet your needs. Patsy’s training and experience in communication skills can facilitate the discussion of topics which are sometimes sensitive.
When you make an appointment for estate planning we will ask you to complete a Profile before the meeting so that you can organize all the pertinent information to assist you efficiently.
It is essential that your estate plan be fully coordinated. Employee benefits, IRAs, and proceeds of life insurance all must be assessed so that the proper beneficiary can be designated in order for your goals to be accomplished and for the greatest tax savings.
Wills & Trusts
Both a will and a trust contain “dispositive” language – they say who will inherit from you. A will must be probated, unless the estate is under a certain dollar limit, or unless everything is passing outright to a surviving spouse.
A trust avoids probate if it is properly executed and funded. Patsy will accomplish some of the funding for you by preparing trust deeds for real property. She will assist you with, or give you directions for, transferring other assets.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney name an agent for management of your financial affairs and health care decisions if you lose your capacity. Patsy will help you sort through the issues so that you feel confident that you have named the right person to make these important decisions for you. The important issue of life support will be addressed in these documents.
Trusts should eliminate the need for a conservatorship if the person who set up the trust (the settlor) becomes incapacitated during his or her lifetime. They do not require a court probate process on the settlor’s death (as long as the trust was funded during lifetime). Nevertheless, some legal advice and assistance will be necessary after the incapacity or death of the settlor. This could include assistance with notice and accounting to beneficiaries, inventorying the trust, dealing with creditors, paying bequests, advice regarding tax returns and estate tax, and distribution of the estate. Patsy performs this work on an hourly basis rather than charging a percentage of the value of the estate.