Whether a simple Will can suffice, or a wide range of legal documents is appropriate, estate planning requires careful consideration, experience and knowledge of the available options. Family needs and tax consequences are only the tip of the iceberg in putting together a comprehensive estate plan.
In many cases, estate planning now requires dealing with blended families, non-citizen spouses, handicapped beneficiaries, and an increasingly wide array of tax issues. Some assets are subject to Federal Estate Tax, State Estate Tax, State Inheritance Tax, Federal Income Tax, and State Income Tax. In certain instances, the total tax bite can approach eighty percent (80%) of the value of the estate. Proper estate planning can reduce or eliminate the shrinkage of your estate due to taxes.
Our lawyers have helped several thousand people with their estate planning by preparing Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and a variety of Trusts. Included are revocable, irrevocable and testamentary trusts, as well as charitable concepts that can be coordinated with trusts and implemented either immediately or at the time of death. Further, our knowledge in the area of estate planning and probate allows us to assist clients in other areas when it comes to tax savings.
For example, the Firm’s background in tax law and estate planning allowed us to assist these three clients:
Client A saved approximately $62,000.00 in various “death taxes” in settling a wrongful death claim by one of our personal injury attorneys. The beneficiaries were actually able to legally benefit from 100% of the settlement rather than losing almost 25% of it in taxes.
Client B consulted us when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Estate planning allowed us to save the family more than $100,000 in taxes when her mother died only several months later.
Client C consulted us when his mother died. Our experience enabled us to advise the client so that when his father died two (2) months later, the family saved nearly $400,000 in estate taxes.
In addition, our attorneys’ work with certain organizations such as Hospice Caring, Inc., allows us to direct clients who are dealing with terminally ill family members to agencies that can assist them with non-legal needs at a time of crisis. We take great pride in the fact that we can offer a full range of services either directly or through these other entities to families at a crucial time.
The Law Firm is also active in the probate of estates of the deceased having handled several thousand probate estates. Not only is it important to make certain that all of the obligations of the deceased are satisfied, it is also critical to assure that the speedy and accurate distribution of the assets to the intended beneficiaries is accomplished. As noted above, even after death there are often opportunities to achieve significant tax savings for the family involved.
We recognize that it is a difficult time when a family member dies. Our experience in handling the probate of these cases can make this difficult time easier both emotionally and financially.
In the world we live in today, you can either have an estate plan prescribed for you by the State legislature or one determined by yourself. You can be assured that if you were to die without a Will, your family would not be in a position to receive the maximum benefits from the estate you leave. Further, if you have just lost a loved one and need assistance in ensuring that you comply with all State laws concerning probate of the estate, and want to assure maximum distribution to all heirs, you can look to our Law Firm to guide you through this complicated process.
For more information regarding Estate Planning, visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
The following attorneys handle this area of law: