Frequently Asked Questions

Estate Planning is the process of arranging and managing tasks that determine who will receive the assets and handle the responsibilities after one deceases or becomes legally incapacitated.

Almost everyone needs an estate plan. Anyone who has any of the following will need an estate plan.

Cash and Securities,  Retirement Accounts, Real Estate, Art and Collectibles, Life Insurance and Annuities.

When we say someone has died intestate, that means they have deceased without a will in place. Instead of the estate being passed to heirs, the estate is now legally subject to probate.

Probate is the legal process of administering one’s estate in the event of passing without a will. The legal court has full discretion and can be costly for the heirs. 

The best ways to avoid probate is to first establish a trust to protect your assets. Another way to protect your assets is to designate beneficiaries for all of your investment accounts. 

A revocable trust is a trust that can be altered. The Grantor, Trustee and Beneficiary can all be the same person.

An irrevocable trust is a trust that can not be amended once it is complete without the approval of the grantor’s beneficiaries.  The grantor can not be a trustee but the trustee can be the beneficiary.

First and foremost, your estate attorney will have you complete a questionnaire. From that questionnaire, gather all of your estate documents and bring copies for your estate attorney. Be sure to include any type of marital or business agreements, real estate documents and financial statements.

Your estate plan should be updated at least every three to five years or any time there is a major life changing event such as a marriage/divorce, birth of a child/adoption, deceased family member or change in family structure.

The estate tax is the tax implied on one’s estate after they are deceased. This may include a deceased’s cash, stocks, real estate or other assets.  As of 2020, the federal estate tax applies to any amount over $11.58 million per individual. 

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