Estates, Trusts & Probate
The importance of superior legal advice for executors of estates and trustees of trusts can't be overstated. When you need someone to listen, when you need proven legal advice for estate planning and trusts, come to Alvis Quashnock and Associates. Our attorneys have helped many families retain the wealth they've accumulated by concentrating on one goal: “To serve the best interests of our clients.”
Our services include:
Revocable Living Trusts
Living Trusts are legal document that holds title or ownership to your real property and assets. They provide instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die as well as if you become incapacitated. When you create a Revocable Living Trust you transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, which is typically called “funding”. Unlike a will, when you die having a trust that is properly funded, your estate will not go through probate, will remain private, will be administered more quickly and less expensively, and can even provide you continued control over your assets.
Irrevocable Trusts
Irrevocable Trusts are legal entities that hold assets for its beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement as established by the individual grantor who creates the trust and transfers assets to the trust. Unlike revocable trusts, the assets held in these trusts cannot be taken out of the trust by the grantor and the terms of the trust cannot be changed. The benefits of irrevocable trusts are that they offer tax advantages and asset protection.
Some common Irrevocable Trusts are:
• Special Needs Trust – In this trust, the assets are available to provide for the needs of a disabled person in such a way to supplement their government benefits but not to an extent that would cause such benefits to be lost. • Charitable Remainder Trust – In this trust, the beneficiaries receive the income from the trust assets and a charity receives the principal after a specified period of time. Benefits: The grantor avoids capital gains tax on the donated assets, receives an income tax deduction for the fair market value of the remainder interest that the trust earned, additionally, as the assets are gifted out of the grantor’s estate, it will reduce estate taxes (if any). • Generation-Skipping Trust (also called a Dynasty Trust) - This enables a grantor to transfer up to the then current generation skipping tax exemption limit to family members at least two generations younger (usually grandchildren). These trust also provide an asset shelter for those beneficiaries. • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust - This trust removes the value of life insurance from the grantor’s estate and thereby reduces estate taxes. • Qualified Personal Residence Trust - This trust can shield a home from estate taxes.
A will is simply a formal way of setting forth your wishes regarding how you would like your property distributed upon your death. A will should not only be for people who have reached an advanced age; every adult should have one to control the disposition of their assets. Even when one has a trust, a “pour-over” will ensures that any unfunded assets will still distributed to your trust and thereafter, to your intended heirs.
Powers of Attorney
Every adult should have a power of attorney for financial affairs. If you can't conduct business or personal affairs due to mental or physical incapacity such as Alzheimer's, stroke, heart attack, etc., only a court appointed conservator will be able to handle your affairs if you do not have a power of attorney in place. Having to go through the court process for a conservatorship is a public process which can be expensive, time consuming and difficult to end should you make a full recovery. Let the attorneys at Alvis Quashnock and Associates help you determine what type of powers you need so that your financial affairs will be taken care of by someone you trust if the need should arise.
Advance Health Care Directives
End of life and incapacity planning is never an enjoyable task. However, ensuring your have designated the person you feel confident in that they will be able to carry out your wishes is essential. Advance Health Care Directives (Health Care Powers of Attorney) allow you to appoint an agent to make health care decision for your, on your behalf. You can indicate what end of life decision you want your agent to carry out as well as treatment option you may or may not want for yourself in a variety of medical situations. Furthermore, ensuring your agents have appropriate HIPPA and CCMIA authority in them is now a necessity that we at Alvis Quashnock and Associates ensure you will have ready if the need arises.
Trust Reviews and Amendments
With constantly changing laws and changes in your family life, it's essential that your estate plan remain current. Asset portfolios also change over time. If new assets aren't properly funded into your trust, they could require a huge probate in the end. Don't neglect the primary reason you set up your trust in the beginning; let us help you keep your estate plan up to date with reviews, amendments, funding updates and restatements. At Alvis Quashnock and Associates it is our continued goal to help our clients keep their plans up to date. That's why when you contract our office to plan your estate, we will provide you with yearly check-up reminders and an opportunity for an annual free phone check-up of your estate plan.
Trust Administration
When someone dies, the successor trustee is responsible for gathering all assets of the estate, providing formal notices, paying final expenses and debts, managing and accounting trust assets, paying taxes, and eventually distributing the remaining property to the proper beneficiaries. Different procedures will be required, depending on the type of assets, the ages of the beneficiaries, and the terms of the trust. If you have been named the successor trustee of a trust, your task of settling the estate may seem overwhelming. At Alvis Quashnock and Associates we are here to help you work through this process in a way that ensures your duties as trustee will be in compliance with the trust and with the law. Whether you just need a little help to get started or want someone to take the reins and relieve your stress, we are here to be your partners through this process.
Probate is the legal process where the court validates and interprets your will when you die, appoints a personal representative to handle your estate, ensures that your debts are paid, and determines how and to whom your assets are distributed. If you don't have a valid will, your assets will still be probated, but they'll be distributed according to the state law of intestate succession. Trying to navigate through this confusing process on your own can be challenging. At Alvis Quashnock and Associates, our attorneys have the experience with the process, the courts and the variety of issues that can arise during the process to allow a family to grieve without the stress and hassle of probate. We keep the process moving along so that the estate can be closed as quickly as possible.
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