Estate planning is a process that enables individuals to control their assets and determine what will happen with them when they die or become incapacitated. It involves preparing legal documents such as a will, trusts and powers of attorney.
An effective estate plan can help you avoid a lengthy and public probate court process. It can also reduce the tax liability of your estate.
Estate planning involves the preparation of legal instruments that dictate how an individual wants his or her property managed after death and who should handle finances, health care and other decisions in the event that the person becomes incapacitated. It usually includes a last will and testament, a living trust, power of attorney for financial and legal matters, medical power of attorney and advance health care directive.
When preparing an estate plan, an Experienced lawyer handling estate planning matters in Washington DC considers the client’s objectives, family relationships and charitable inclinations. In addition, he or she reviews federal and state inheritance tax laws and the relationship of these taxes to the client’s plans.
When choosing an estate attorney, it is important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal family details. Additionally, the attorney should be able to explain complex legal matters in an understandable way. The attorney also must know how to prepare and execute legal documents correctly. For example, he or she should be familiar with the requirements for witnessing and notarizing these documents.
A DC estate planning attorney can help individuals secure a stable financial future for loved ones through the preparation of trusts. Trusts can be used to protect assets from creditor claims, as well as prevent family members from misusing inheritances.
A revocable living trust allows people to enjoy their assets during their lifetime and transfer wealth seamlessly at death, avoiding probate. It also offers flexibility in terms of gifting. Individuals can set stipulations on inheritances, such as age attainment provisions or allowances for specific purposes, such as college tuition.
A trusted lawyer could review a client’s estate and consider all available options to devise an effective plan that takes into account any concerns. The lawyer would then assist the client in completing all necessary paperwork and making sure it meets any formalities required under DC or Maryland law. This process often includes obtaining the proper number of witnesses and notarizing documents. The attorney may also assist clients in establishing a power of attorney for medical and legal matters.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney gives a person the legal right to act on your behalf in financial or medical matters. We help clients draft powers of attorneys that reflect their intentions and satisfy state law.
A person may wish to give limited or broad powers of attorney. We also advise clients about springing powers of attorney, which become effective upon the occurrence of certain events such as a doctor declaring you incapacitated.
We can also draft a medical power of attorney or advance medical directive that includes your wishes regarding end-of-life care and treatment. Without such a document, your family may have to petition the court to serve as your guardian and make medical decisions for you, which could conflict with your wishes. We also address the issues involved with transferring your assets to beneficiaries. We can explain the various estate planning options, such as trusts, and discuss how these documents affect state and inheritance taxes if applicable.
Healthcare directives are documents stating, in writing, your choices for future medical treatment if you are incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself. The most common forms of these are the living will and durable power of attorney for health care. California uses a different form called POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment).
A healthcare directive enables you to nominate an agent to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become unable to do so yourself. The agent will have the authority to decide whether or not you want to receive certain types of medical care, including artificial nutrition and hydration and any other means of prolonging your life.
The document will also include your wishes for end-of-life care such as do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, organ donation and other specific instructions for your care. State laws vary on terminology, content and revocation of healthcare directives. They should be revised periodically to reflect your current circumstances and preferences.