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Estate Planning and Probate

Overview

Today, many people have complex estates, owning multiple pieces of property, a business, or having blended families. In addition, as we age, it is necessary for us to be thoughtful about health care and financial decisions to be made on our behalf, while we are alive. Developing a plan for your estate is the smart and thoughtful thing to do for your heirs. Our estate planning attorneys counsel clients in the best way to carry out their wishes with estate plans utilizing basic documents such as: wills, trusts, a medical power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, and marital property agreements. In addition, we utilize more sophisticated approaches to protect your assets such as irrevocable life insurance trusts, family limited partnerships and charitable foundations, and trusts, all of which may have favorable tax implications for you. We will tailor a plan that is specific and personal to your unique estate planning needs and wishes and will minimize disputes among your beneficiaries.

The goal of having a well executed estate plan is to avoid having your plans or wishes contested in Probate. Probate is the court process by which a will is proved valid or invalid. The legal process wherein the estate of a decedent is administered. When a person dies, his or her estate must go through probate, which is a process overseen by a probate court. If the decedent leaves a will directing how his or her property should be distributed after death, the probate court must determine if it should be admitted to probate and given legal effect. If the decedent dies intestate—without leaving a will—the court appoints a Personal Representative to distribute the decedent's property according to the laws of Descent and Distribution. These laws direct the distribution of assets based on hereditary succession.

To start your estate planning prior to an appointment with our attorneys, download this Estate Planning Checklist.

Our representation doesn’t end with the documents, but continues in assisting the family or beneficiaries in the administration of a decedent’s estate or trust as a probate attorney.