At Hilary Carter Law, we recognize that an estate plan must be tailored to the client's personal circumstances as these may change through the years – births, marriages, financial changes, aging. Our discussions with you allow us to gain insight into your values, goals and circumstances. We then recommend the estate planning tools and strategies to meet your unique needs, including gifting and estate planning to minimize estate tax, if applicable.
Most estate plans include some basic documents:
- Will. A Will, which may be called a Last Will and Testament, is used to identify a personal representative to administer your estate, name the persons who will receive your property at your death and, sometimes, nominate a guardian for your minor children. If you have a revocable living trust, your Will will only be admitted to probate if an assets is not held in the trust and does not have a beneficiary designation. It is called a "Pourover Will" because the beneficiary is your trust and the assets pour over into the trust.
- Trust. Increasingly, clients are choosing to create arevocable trust as the central document of their estate plan. The trust allows for the management of your assets in the event you become incapacitated and the transfer of your assets at your death. There are a wide variety of trusts that can be used for tax planning, to safeguard asset for minor, disabled or incapacitated beneficiaries, to transfer life insurance policies and to benefit charities. We will help you determine which trust or trusts may be best for your unique objectives.
- Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint another person to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event
you cannot make them for yourself.
- Advance Directive. An advance directive for health care is used to designate one or more individuals to make health care decisions for you if you cannot communicate your wishes. It also allows you to give instructions about the care you wish to receive at end of life.
In addition to preparing the documents listed above, we advise you about language to use on beneficiary designations for assets that may not transfer to a person under your will or trust (e.g., life insurance, retirement accounts, and annuities).