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Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration
Our Overrriding Goal
We believe that estate planning must be centered on our client's goals for his/her family and loved ones, and not first directed toward sophisticated tax analysis or other complicated considerations. We cannot effectively plan until we clearly understand what our client wishes to happen when he or she dies. Then, and only then, do we endeavor to create the simplest set of planning tools to accomplish these directives.
We pride ourselves in first listening carefully to our clients. A plan may direct immediate and outright gifts at death, or the distributions may be gradual. Asset protection from creditors may or may not be a concern. Second marriage planning may be relevant. The maturity level of our beneficiaries may be factor to consider. The stability of our loved ones' marriages may be relevant. Finally, estate and income tax reduction is certainly important, as is, commonly, probate avoidance.
Special Needs and Delay Distribution
It is not uncommon for us to prepare special needs trusts that will benefit those with a disability. And, often it is desirable to delay distribution of the client's wealth to his or her children until the children reach certain specified maturity levels.
Probate and Estate Administration
When a death occurs, we provide compassionate and clear legal advice as to what is necessary to administer the estate, whether through the probate court or otherwise. Our goal is to see that the assets are delivered promptly to the intended beneficiaries, while meeting all legal and tax requirements. Estate settlement upon a death is often a bureaucratic process, and we endeavor to simplify it by proactively engaging, rather than reacting to, the necessary legal requirements. In our experience, a lawyer's failure to effectively communicate during this process results in delay and frustration for everyone concerned. We make every effort to educate our client as to what this process entails, and why. The process becomes our responsibility, and not yours.
Finally, when it is unavoidable, our attorneys are known for their litigation skills required when lawsuits arise. Whether the lawsuit is a will contest, a guardianship dispute, misuse of a power of attorney, or other arguments over an inheritance, our firm has the knowledge and skills to shepherd the process.