Estate planning basics

It does not matter what your net worth, it’s still important to have a basic estate plan in place.

Any reasonable estate plan contains the following. A will; assignment of power of attorney; and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). For some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.

Our experienced attorneys provide comprehensive legal services for legal trusts.  You can think of a trust as a secure storage unit, a safe place where you can place your assets before they are released to the people or organizations that you designate to eventually receive them. A trust is a legal entity and so are you. In the eyes of the law you and the trust are separate legal entities, anything you transfer from you to the trust becomes property of the trust. The trust then holds the property for your benefit, or for the benefit of those whom you designate.

A trust has four components:

  • The grantor, who creates the trust.
  • The beneficiaries, who receive the benefits of the trust. Note: The grantor can also be a beneficiary.
  • The assets, which are the properties transferred to the trust.
  • The trustee, who is the person or entity that manages the trust’s assets and distributes the property according to terms established by the grantor. The grantor can also be the trustee, at least while the grantor is alive.

Trusts can be set up while you are alive (the legal term for this is intervivos), or they can be established upon your death by your Will (known as testamentary). Revocable trusts can be changed or revoked by the grantor. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed after they are created.

Contact us to discuss your situation.