Estate Planning & Estate Administration
Weinberg, Jacobs & Tolani, LLP is experienced in assisting clients prepare for matters affecting all stages of their lives through the development of estate plans, the creation of Wills and Trusts to provide for the efficient and cost-effective transfer of assets, and the creation of powers of attorneys, health care agent designations, and living wills to ease the burden on family members.
Wills and Trusts: What's the Difference?
A Will is a legal declaration whereby a person provides for distribution of his or her property at death. A person's Will applies only to assets owned solely in his or her name (probate assets); assets owned jointly (such as a married couple's home or car) may pass to the survivor, while assets having a beneficiary owner (such as an IRA or life insurance policy) pass to named beneficiaries upon death. As we prepare and develop your estate plan, we assist you in determining how to effectively distribute your assets to reduce probate costs while helping you plan for your family's future.
A Trust is an independent legal entity which can own and convey assets. Generally, a Trust involves one or more grantors (whose assets are paid into the trust), trustees (who administer the trust) and beneficiaries (who receive benefits from the trust). Whether a Trust is right for you depends largely on the size of your estate, what types of assets the estate contains, and what plans you have for yourself and your family. While Trusts work better in certain scenarios, they do provide benefits, including: avoiding probate and protecting privacy, reducing taxes, and maintaining control of assets. While carefully crafting your estate plan, we can help determine how a Trust can help serve your financial planning and legal goals for you and your loved ones.
Our firm is also experienced in drafting Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT). Establishing an ILIT may be used to significantly reduce the size of your taxable estate and avoid paying probate fees or estate tax on life insurance proceeds. We have experience in creating irrevocable trusts and assisting the trustees in the administration of trusts.
Family Limited Partnerships
Another planning tool that our firm is well-versed in using for estate planning purposes is family limited partnerships. Limited partnerships are an attractive device in many family planning situations, particularly as a vehicle for the ownership of family assets (such as dwelling units or parcels of land). Limited partnerships can be structured to provide administrative convenience, income, estate and gift tax benefits. Our firm can help you determine if a family limited partnership is right for your situation and assist in the preparation of the corporate documents that are necessary to form the partnership.
Power of Attorney & Health Care Agent Designation
A Power of Attorney and Health Care Agent Designation are separate legal documents that give someone that you choose (the agent) the legal authority to act on your behalf in the event you ever become mentally incapacitated. The Power of Attorney provides your agent with the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf (among other things). The Health care Agent Designation provides your agent with the authority to make medical decisions.
Living Will and Declaration
A Living Will and Declaration is your written expression of how you want to be treated in certain medical circumstances. The document permits you to express whether you wish to be given life-sustaining treatments in the event you are terminally ill or injured, to decide in advance whether you wish to be provided food and water via intravenous devices ("tube feeding"), and to give other medical directions that impact your care, including the end of life.
Estate Administration & Probate
When someone dies, the courts oversee how the decedent's assets pass to survivors. If the decedent had a Will, the Will is admitted to probate and the court uses the decedent's Will to distribute assets in accordance with the Will. If the decedent does not have a Will, then the court distributes the assets to the decedent's heirs in accordance with the laws of intestacy. We can assist families through this process and help reduce financial and emotional burdens during this trying time.