Estate planning allows you to apply the law to achieve your goals, preserve assets for your chosen heirs and beneficiaries, and reduce or eliminate potential administrative costs and delays in settling your estate.
Importantly, estate planning also enables you to name a trusted personal representative to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so.
Without proper estate planning, the distribution of your assets could end up being determined by the laws of the Commonwealth rather than your personal wishes. Additionally, upon incapacity or death, the courts may have to appoint a legal representative to handle your personal affairs, which can result in:
- Unnecessary legal fees
- Administrative expenses and delays due to court involvement
- A loss of family control over decision-making
- Personal information becoming part of the public records through the probate process
There are two primary approaches used to help you plan your estate:
- "Will-Based" Planning
- "Trust-Based" Planning
Each approach provides different benefits and requires careful tailoring to ensure that your personal planning goals and wishes are fulfilled. Which approach is right for you? The answer depends upon your personal and financial goals and circumstances.
Some primary goals for estate planning include:
- Deciding how, when, and to whom your assets will be distributed
- Documenting your personal wishes regarding final medical care
- Identifying an individual or entity to oversee your affairs upon your death or incapacity
- Protecting minor children or a special needs family member
- Minimizing or eliminating waiting periods and administrative difficulties for family members after your death
- Minimizing or eliminating future probate costs, legal fees, and/or estate taxes
- Minimizing or eliminating disputes regarding your assets or final wishes
Estate planning can include one or more of the following strategies depending upon your specific needs. Click on each link to read more about a particular planning goal:
Once The Reynolds Law Group has helped you identify your personal estate planning goals through our client consultation process, we can then design the right plan and draft the appropriate legal documents that will best enable you to achieve your goals.
Please contact us to learn more about our estate planning services.