ESTATE PLANNING (WILLS AND TRUSTS).
An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney can help you to protect your family's assets, avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and manage your medical care.
For Estate Planning Attorney Asher A. Levin, estate planning is highly personalized and may involve a number a number of legal documents, including:
- A Will may be used as a stand alone document to direct the final distribution of your assets after death. If the Will is part of a Living Trust Package, it will usually provide that all assets be given to the Living Trust. The Trust will provide for the distribution of your assets.
- A Living Trust (aka a Revocable Trust), is a means to avoid the costs and formalities of a Probate. In a Living Trust, you will wear three hats. First, you are the Trustor - the person who establishes the Trust and, with the assistance of the Estate Planning Attorney, transfers his or her assets into the Trust. Second, you are the Trustee - the general manager of the Trust, possessing all of the rights that an individual has with regards to his or her property. Third, you are the first Beneficiary of the Living Trust – the assets in the Trust are used for your benefit. As long as you are capable and you (and your spouse) are alive, you can revoke or amend the Trust. When you are unable to manage your property - because of death or disability, the successor Trustee(s) that you name will manage the Trust. They usually do not have the powers to revoke or amend the Trust. When you pass away, the assets of the Trust will be distributed according to your instructions – as set forth in the Trust.
- In large estates, Revocable Trusts are a major tool used to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. In even larger estates, an Irrevocable Trust may allow you to minimize the impact of estate taxes on your beneficiaries.
- A Special Needs Trust may allow an Heir who is receiving government assistance to continue to receive government assistance while, at the same time, the Trust can provide for items that are not covered by the government.
- An Advance Health Care Directive, where you state your desires concerning future medical care (you want/do not want artificial, life-prolonging techniques or procedures) and where you appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- A Financial Power of Attorney, which allows you to designate a trusted person to handle your financial affairs if you are not able to do so yourself.
As an Estate Planning Attorney and a Probate Attorney, Asher A. Levin has seen what happens when a Trust was improperly prepared or when the decedent failed to make sure that his or her assets were transferred into the trust. Mr. Levin recommends that you have an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney draft your Trust and advise you with regards to funding the trust.