WHAT I DO
Simply put, a will is any legal document in which you declare who will manage your estate, receive specific belongings, and become the guardian of any dependents you may have. However, the particulars of your will may vary greatly depending on what outcomes you hope for, and how large and complex your estate is. For a will to be validly executed, it must be submitted to the courts.
Without a will, state laws will dictate who inherits what, but this can often lead to complications and outcomes you likely would not want for your friends and family. Your will could also end up being contested, in which case you will want it to be clearly drafted and validly executed so it will hold up in the courts. For all these reasons and more, it is strongly recommended you work with an experienced lawyer like myself.
Simply put, a probate is the legal process necessary to submit a will to the courts. During this process, all granted property of the decedent is collected, all disputes are settled, all debts and taxes of the estate are paid, and finally, the property is distributed to the beneficiaries of the will. As mentioned above, the will may be contested, which will extend the probate and possibly change the outcome of the will. I can ensure that your will is entered into probate as carefully and efficiently as possible
Trusts can be extraordinarily detailed, but the basics are simple. Essentially, they are a sort of company formed to control a set amount of money or other property. You give a professional or institution control over the property with strict instructions on what it can and cannot be used for. Trusts can be used to replace or supplement wills, and can also be useful to manage property while you’re still living.
Unlike wills, trusts do not have to be submitted through the courts. You can control the trust yourself, but should always designate one or more trustees to take over after you pass on. Setting up one or more trusts is a time-consuming process and it’s easy to make mistakes if you’re not experienced enough. I will ensure your trusts are established exactly as you wish and will last to fulfill their purpose.
WILLS & TRUST LITIGATION
Estate planning can be an emotionally fraught and divisive process, even for close families. There is always a risk of wills and trusts falling under legal scrutiny and facing contestment in the courts. You’ll want to be prepared for the possibility of litigation both in and out of probate, and have someone ready to fight any wrongful challenges to your carefully planned estate. Alternatively, you may suspect that a loved one’s estate was planned with undue influence, and need to contest their will to get what you’re due. In either case, I can step in to help accomplish your litigation goals.
Medicaid offers excellent healthcare options for seniors entering their golden years, but it is not always a simple matter to qualify for these benefits. If your income level is too high, you may need to show that excess income is spent on qualifying medical expenses. In this case, you could potentially join what is sometimes called a “spend down program.”
I can work with you to begin Medicaid planning, discovering what it would take for you or your loved one to qualify for Medicaid. We can take the necessary steps to protect or transfer your assets to meet qualifying standards and cut through some of the red tape of this otherwise time-consuming process.