Estate and trust planning
The core goals of estate and trust planning are to (a) ensure assets are transferred according to a client's wishes; (b) minimize tax consequences and tax cost; and (c) avoid probate. Our Estate Planning Group works with clients to achieve these goals through advanced planning and careful, customized drafting.
The most effective tools to address estate-planning concerns are properly drafted documents such as wills and trusts. Our attorneys prepare a will as a basic building block of an estate plan. In general, a will allows one to appoint an executor (person who handles the administration of an estate), and guardians of any children who are minors. We can also include specific language to pass property to certain beneficiaries upon death.
A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, compliments a will by managing assets both during a client's lifetime and after death. Just as a will, a revocable trust allows a client to specify beneficiaries of their assets. However, our Estate Planning Group is experienced in utilizing a trust to provide asset protection for such beneficiaries and diminish any risk of loss due to creditor issues. Further, our revocable trusts leverage estate tax laws to minimize the amount of both state and federal estate tax liability. Assets owned by a revocable trust are not subject to probate. Therefore, they are generally not subject to court-supervised distribution, or "frozen" (i.e., inaccessible) during the statutory "creditor claims period." Our Estate Planning Group works with the client to make certain their assets are properly titled to avoid unnecessary court involvement and expense.
Transferring assets at the lowest possible tax cost is a primary concern of our Estate Planning Group. As such, we have developed wealth transfer strategies that allow a client to share assets with future generations - starting now. Advance planning, tailored to meet one's wishes, is key. Therefore, in addition to the basic building blocks of an estate plan, our Estate Planning Group has extensive experience in creation of dynamic tools such as:
1. irrevocable life insurance trusts.
2. qualified domestic trusts.
3. qualified personal residence trusts.
4. charitable remainder trusts.
5. charitable lead trusts.
6. grantor retained annuity trusts.
7. education trusts.
8. generation skipping transfer tax trusts.
9. family limited partnerships.