Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Guardianship
Although many people find the idea uncomfortable, estate planning is the best way to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after your death or disability, and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
State laws regarding estates differ widely. If you are a resident of North Carolina and die without a will, your estate, including your property, will be divided according to North Carolina, regardless of any special family circumstances. Working with an attorney to plan your estate, which can include a will and one of more trusts, can provide peace of mind for you and your family.
Our attorneys help clients achieve a variety of estate planning objectives. These include:
- Minimizing estate, inheritance, gift and income taxes on the transfer of family wealth.
- Protecting the income and assets of vulnerable beneficiaries.
- Guardianships for those who require assistance in handling their personal and financial affairs
- Financing a secure and active retirement.
- Maximizing the benefits of life insurance.
- Optimizing the rewards of charitable giving.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Estate planning is not something that you should attempt to do alone, by using online forms or off-the-shelf software. An attorney who is experienced in estate planning, wills and trusts can help guide you through what can be a difficult process and ask probing questions to ensure your intentions are addressed.
Our firm’s attorneys design and draft the wide variety of documents needed to implement our clients’ estate planning objectives. These documents can include:
- Simple and complex wills
- Trust agreements for revocable and irrevocable trusts
- Powers of attorney documents
- Health care directives
- Other asset transfer documents
Sometimes, our loved ones have not planned for their disability or incapacity through trusts or powers of attorney for business affairs. Where incapacity of a loved one threatens his or her well-being and property, we can assist in the appointment of a guardian for the person or property of the person who is incapacitated. This means that a court-appointed guardian will handle the financial and personal affairs of the incapacitated person to the extent that such supervision is required to protect the minor or incapacitated person. Our attorneys can assist parties at all stages of this process.
After death, the probate of the will or the administration of the deceased person's estate is often required to distribute the decedent's property in accordance with law. Our attorneys can advise and assist executors, trustees and personal representatives in gathering assets, accounting for estate expenses, preparing tax returns, the preparation and auditing of accounts, and the distribution of property to the heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent. We also represent heirs and devisees in litigation matters arising from wills, trusts, and the probate and administration of decedent's estates.
To begin the process of estate planning, contact one of our attorneys today.