Estate Planning

Our law firm will work with you to develop an estate plan which fits your needs. Like other financial decisions which relate to you and your family, this means our law firm will help you balance decisions related to: (a) financial risk; (b) cost of implementation; and (c) personal preferences for how each individual in your family will be impacted by your estate plan. 

Basics of an Estate Plan

The two main instruments which will likely develop the core of how property will be distributed as part of your estate plan are a will and a trust. 

Wills

A will is a document which a person uses to give instructions for others to follow after he or she dies.  Commonly, a person uses a will to give instructions on how their property (money in a bank account, ownership of a house, etc.) should be given away after he or she dies. In addition to instructions about property, the person can also give instructions about who should be the guardian of their children or how they would like to be buried. 


 For a further explanation of wills, visit our Wills Page (here). 

Trusts

A trust is an entity which controls certain property.  Since trusts are less well known to the general public an example of a trust is an easier way to describe a trust and how a trust would be used in an estate plan. An example of a trust: (a) a grandparent will put $100,000 in a trust; (b) the trust has instructions that the grandparent’s son will manage the trust; (c) the trust has instructions that no money should be dispersed from the trust until the grandparent dies; and (d) the trust has instructions that when the grandparent dies the son will disperse $10,000 to each grandchild each calendar year until there is no money left in the trust. From this example, it can be seen that a trust can be used to control how money is dispersed over time after a person dies—which is a major benefit of a trust in an estate plan. When setting up a trust, the basics of a trust will include: (a) the property within the trust; (b) the person funding the trust, also called the settlor/grantor; (c) the person maintaining the trust, also called the trustee; and (d) the person or persons who will receive money (or another benefit), also called the beneficiary.


 For a further explanation of trusts, visit our Trusts Page (here).