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Estate Planning & in Washington DC and Massachusetts
As you grow older and begin to think about your legacies, understanding all the considerations involved in estate planning and is essential. You want to make sure your loved ones are taken care of, both during your lifetime and after you're gone.
It's imperative to understand that estate planning isn't just for the wealthy; it is necessary for everybody. Foregoing an effective plan could leave your family members fighting for years over how to divide your assets and who gets what.
At Legall Law, our experienced team helps individuals create long-term plans that protect and preserve their assets and family's future. From drafting complex plans for high-net-worth individuals to handling probate issues, our attorneys provide comprehensive legal advice and guidance on all estate planning and matters. Contact our team today to discuss your legal needs and determine how we can help you.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a legal process that allows individuals to make decisions about their assets now so that when they pass away, those assets are protected. It also involves managing finances, taxes, health care decisions and other matters related to your property or assets. You should always consider estate planning whether you are an individual, own a business or real estate or have any assets that need protection.
A recent survey revealed that only 42% of U.S adults have taken the initiative to create an estate plan such as a living trust or will, and shockingly for parents with children under 18, this figure drops drastically to just 36%. It's important that you protect your family and hard-earned assets by having an estate plan in place. At Legall Law, we can help you understand the process and create a plan that meets your needs.
Don't Leave Your Loved Ones in the Dark: Find Out What Happens When You Don't Have an Estate Plan in place
Without an estate plan in place, the state has control over how your assets are managed and distributed, which can result in family members going through expensive court proceedings to challenge the distribution of your estate. In Washington DC and Massachusetts, the laws dictate which heirs may receive what assets.
These laws are called intestacy laws, and they are often unfair to certain family members. The only way to ensure that assets are distributed as intended is by having a valid estate plan in place. An estate plan can include wills, and various types of trusts.
After dedicating yourself to ensuring a secure and prosperous future for your family, it is essential that you make sure that legacy is passed on in the form of which you have planned. Although one may assume their estate will be smoothly distributed upon their death, probate, and estate planning are intricate topics. To guarantee the continuation of those special traditions, it is necessary to obtain the guidance from our legal team.
A will is a legal document that states your wishes for how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death. For a will to be considered a legally valid instrument, it must be signed by you, the testator, and two disinterested witnesses over the age of eighteen. Our experienced team can prepare your will at an affordable cost.
Requirements for Creating Wills in DC & Massachusetts
In both DC and Massachusetts, wills must be signed and witnessed in order for them to be legally binding.
In Washington DC:
- The will must be written or printed.
- The will must be signed by the testator (or person creating the Will) in front of at least two witnesses, who must also sign the document.
- The witnesses do not need to read the contents of the will and can be impartial.
- The will must be written or printed.
- The testator must sign the document in front of at least two qualified witnesses, who must also sign the document.
- The witnesses must have seen you sign the will or heard you acknowledge your signature.
- Though the testator can self-prove the will, it must be signed in front of witnesses if they wish to contest its validity.
The will contains the following information:
- Naming an individual to act as your executor: A person chosen to carry out the instructions and wishes of your will. They are responsible for distributing your assets in accordance with the will's instructions.
- Designating guardians for minor children: The will is the ideal place to appoint a guardian for any minor children in case you pass away, ensuring that your kids are raised following the values and principles you deem important.
- Specifying how you want your property to be distributed: A will states how you want your property, such as real estate and investments, to be divided among your beneficiaries.
- Creating trusts for young beneficiaries: You may create a trust in your will to manage and protect assets for minors or young family members until they are old enough to manage them themselves.
Creating a will is critical for guaranteeing that all aspects of your estate are documented and distributed in line with your wishes. Our legal team will skillfully prepare legally valid and enforceable wills at affordable cost. We also offer assistance in revising, canceling, or renewing older wills when situations alter.
A trust is a legal agreement between the trustee (person in charge of the trust) and beneficiaries (persons who receive the benefits). The trustee is responsible for managing the assets of the trust. They must follow the instructions set forth in the trust's creator's wishes, as specified in a document known as a trust instrument or declaration of trust.
Trusts are used to manage and protect assets, such as real estate or investments, for the benefit of a third party. One of the most alluring facets of trusts is that they offer a probate-free way to transfer assets from the creator of the trust commonly referred to as grantor or trustor to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can acquire their inheritance in a more cost-effective, efficient manner than through the legalities of a will. Furthermore, trusts are confidential documents and don't become publicly accessible like wills when filed in court.
At Legall Law, we can help you create trusts tailored to your needs and your family's circumstances. We understand that every trust is unique due to variations in trust objectives, trustees, beneficiaries, and assets held within the trust. That is why we take our time to determine the best options for you and ensure that your trust meets all legal requirements.
We also provide assistance in modifying or revising older trusts if the situation has changed, such as the death of a trustee or beneficiary, or if there are changes in tax regulations. We can even help you terminate an existing trust and transfer its assets elsewhere.
Our legal team will help you understand the process of setting up a trust and ensure that your wishes are carried out. We are here to make sure that your assets are managed as you wish - both now and well into the future.
Different Types of Trusts for Different Needs
There are a variety of trusts available for different needs, such as charitable giving, asset protection, and tax avoidance. Our legal team will assist you in choosing the right type of trust to meet your goals. We can also advise on how to structure the trust to ensure that it is most beneficial to you and those you love.
The different kinds of trusts that we can help you with include:
- ● Revocable/Living Trusts
- ● Testamentary Trusts
- ● Irrevocable Trusts
- ● Charitable Trusts
- ● Special Needs Trusts
- ● Educational trusts
- ● Credit shelter trusts
- ● Charitable giving trusts
- ● Medicaid planning or qualifying trusts
- ● Generation-skipping trusts
- ● Retirement planning trusts
A revocable living trust is the most popular type of trust and provides a great deal of flexibility. It can be modified until your death but subsequently becomes irrevocable after you have passed away. This kind of trust has endless benefits, including probate avoidance, will contest prevention, and allowing for any assets to be dispersed over time while still protecting your family's financial security.
Other Estate planning Documents
At Legall Law, we also prepare documents to protect individuals at later stages in their lives when they may be incapable of making decisions on their own. These documents include Durable Power of Attorney for financial related matters and healthcare, advance directives/living wills and guardianship, etc.
Creating Powers of Attorney Documents
A Power of Attorney is an immensely powerful instrument that grants another person the right to act on your behalf. Therefore, you must select someone who can be trusted absolutely as this document remains effective in cases when a creator becomes incapacitated. With such a far-reaching impact and long-lasting effects, it's imperative to take extra care when signing off on this agreement.
Designating a Guardian for Any Minor Children
This step is important for parents with underage children. A guardian will be responsible for the care of your children in the case of your death or incapacitation.
Creating Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare to Outline Your Wishes Regarding Medical Treatments
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a legal document that allows you to plan for the future and makes sure your wishes are followed in relation to medical treatments. It's a way for you to ensure your wishes are known, even if you can't communicate them yourself.
Call for a Free Consultation!
Estate planning is an important process that can have long-term implications, so it's essential to get advice from an experienced estate planning lawyer who understands the laws in Washington DC and Massachusetts. At Legall Law, our team is experienced in creating wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate documents that are necessary to ensure that your assets are protected, and your wishes are followed. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your legal needs.