Estate Planning, Wills, and Trusts
An estate plan ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your death accounting for family dynamics, the nature and amount of one’s assets, and applicable transfer taxes. Without an estate plan in place, state laws of intestacy allow the state to determine how your assets will be distributed, which may be significantly different than you wish. Wills and trusts are a means in estate planning for the transfer of property and assets in a cost-effective and efficient manner. An estate plan can also name a guardian for your children and name representatives of your choosing who will be able to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to do so.
Many people incorrectly believe that estate plans are primarily for individuals who have significant wealth. If you have any assets at all, and you have young children or other loved ones in your life, then you need an estate plan.
We can also assist you in passing firearms on to your beneficiaries, avoiding the probate court system, through a special purpose trust called a gun trust. A gun trust is designed to hold title to your firearms of all types and also make it more convenient to purchase, hold, and transfer more types of firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). A gun trust has special rules and provisions that ensure the trustee and beneficiaries do not violate the NFA. Violating federal gun laws, even accidentally, could result in loss of firearms, a prison time, or substantial fines.
Whether you are about to create a will or trust for the first time, you need to revise your current will or trust, or you are in need of a simple power of attorney, Massey Legal Services, PLLC can provide you with a tailored approach to your specific situation covering your estate planning needs.
An overview of some basic estate planning tools includes the following:
- Wills— A will is a written document that leaves an individual’s estate to named persons or entities, including portions or percentages of the estate and specific gifts. Usually, a will names an executor to manage the estate and states the authority and obligations of the executor in the management and distribution of the estate.
- Trusts— A trust is an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust. A trust may take the place of a will and avoid probate by providing for the distribution of those assets that have been titled in the name of the trust. One may construct numerous types of trusts depending on the desired structure and purpose, including revocable, irrevocable, and charitable trusts.
- Powers of Attorney— A power of attorney is a written document signed by a person giving another person the power to conduct business on behalf of the signer, including signing tax returns and other legal documents, handling bank accounts and performing other activities in the name of the person granting the power of attorney.
- Medical Directives— Medical directives refer to treatment preferences and the designation of a surrogate decision-maker in the event that a person becomes unable to make medical decisions on his or her own behalf.
- Designation of Guardian— Designation of a guardian is a written document signed by a person designating the person they desire to be their guardian, or that of their minor child, in the event they become incapacitated.
- Disposition of Remains –A document executed by the principal which provides for an agent and any special directions for the disposition of the principal’s remains upon death.