While it may be a difficult issue to address, estate planning is an important step you can take to protect the interests of your family. A well prepared estate plan will help you ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of once you're gone. If you pass away without a plan in place, your family members may be left to sort out the mess in court.
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Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probates
While it may be a difficult issue to address, estate planning is an important step you can take to protect the interests of your family. A well prepared estate plan will help you ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of once you’re gone. If you pass away without a plan in place, your family members may be left to sort out the mess in court.
Estate planning generally entails:
Wills and Trusts
At Rubenstein & Pitts, we understand that your life savings and other assets are a reflection of your hard work and careful planning. It is important to make sure that your final property and health care wishes are equally well-thought-out. It is comforting to know that your loved ones will be provided for in your absence.
Our attorneys help clients prepare wills, trusts and other estate planning documents that allow clients to give their assets to whom they want, how they want, while minimizing the costs of administration. It is important that you fully understand what your estate plan can accomplish. We are dedicated to working closely with our clients in their efforts to create a good estate plan with efficient estate administration.
We take the time learn about your life circumstances and discuss your objectives for creating an estate plan. Once we have a good sense of your goals, we explain everything that can be accomplished with the various estate planning tools available to you.
Wills primarily function to leave instructions on how to distribute your property after death and appoint the executor who will carry out these wishes. A properly structured Will can save your heirs significant amounts of money in legal fees. However a Trust is often a better option for many clients.
Trusts are managed by a trustee that holds assets for you or for the benefit of others sees that assets are properly managed and distributed. Trustees have legal responsibility for managing and overseeing the Trust’s proceeds in accordance with your wishes. Trusts are especially useful in estate planning to avoid estate tax and provide for heirs without the need for probate.
Health Care Directives (aka “Living Wills”)
Health Care Directives allow you to inform medical professionals and family members about what kind of care you want when you cannot communicate those wishes yourself.
At Rubenstein & Pitts, we take extra care to understand all of your wants and needs for health care directives. Our attorneys work with clients to discover their potential future health care needs and preferences.
Living Wills, also known as a health care declaration, state what type of medical treatment you do or do not wish to receive if you are too ill or injured to direct your own care. These are important documents to have readily available during an unforeseen event in which our clients cannot answer for themselves.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, also known as a Medical Power of Attorney, allow you to name a trusted person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to communicate on your own. The person you name to make these decisions is usually called your agent or attorney-in-fact.
They are given the authority to oversee the wishes you have set out in your health care declaration, as well as the power to make other necessary decisions about your health care matters.
Advance Healthcare Directives allow you to appoint your agents to oversee the wishes which you have set out in your health care declaration and other necessary decisions about health care matters, including DNR orders and POLST forms.
Probate administration is the process by which an estate’s financial affairs are wrapped up and the estate’s assets distributed to beneficiaries and heirs. It is complex and time-consuming process that the attorneys at Rubenstein & Pitts are dedicated to resolving in efficient and cost-effective ways. Our services are designed to complete the probate process in a timely manner, so that the estate’s assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Our attorneys take the time to explain the duties of the personal representative, prepare and file petition for the letters testamentary with the District Court, assist the personal representative with their various duties, identify problems that could complicate the process, assist with the distribution of assets and prepare and file final documents with the court.
The procedures in an estate administration takes time and effort by the administrator. At Rubenstein & Pitts, we try to forewarn administrators in order to empower them to have a higher tolerance level for the slow legal process of estate administration.
Our attorneys come alongside administrators to help conduct a thorough search of the decedent’s personal papers and effects for any evidence that might point you in the direction of a potential creditor, examine the decedent’s checkbook and check register for recurring payments, as these may indicate an existing debt, contact the issuer of each credit card that the decedent had in his or her possession at the time of his or her death and contact all parties who provided medical care, treatment or assistance to the decedent prior to his or her death.
Our attorneys help clients navigate the time-consuming process to eventually file any estate or inheritance tax return if necessary, after completing their role as the estate administrator.
Types of Estate Planning: