Centennial Estate Planning Attorney

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A good estate plan is going to address many different concerns and potential situations. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you partner with a Centennial estate planning attorney who can walk you through all the options and considerations that should be involved with your estate planning. Although the process can seem overwhelming at first, a good lawyer will help make the process understandable so you are making fully informed decisions regarding your estate.

At Burr Law, we believe in taking the time necessary to ensure that our clients feel comfortable and at peace with the estate plan that they put in place. We believe in a customized approach that treats each estate plan as unique. This ensures that we are designing something that is tailored to your objectives and expectations. We want to create an estate plan that will give you the peace of mind that you deserve.

What’s Included in Estate Planning

Throughout your life, it’s possible you’ve collected assets like real estate, investments, a business, personal property, and other items of value. You want to have some say about what happens to these things when you’re gone. An estate plan gives you that influence.

Additionally, a thorough estate plan will address other issues as well, such as any debt or taxes that need to be paid, what should happen with minor children, how anyone with special needs under your care will be cared for, and what should happen to a business. It can even address the possibility of your becoming incapacitated and end-of-life decisions. These concerns are addressed in a comprehensive estate plan by incorporating several tools.

Wills

One of the most standard tools involved with estate planning is a will. Without a will or some other form of estate plan in place, your estate and surviving family will be subject to the probate process and the laws governing asset distribution.

How you would like to see your estate managed and your preferences on asset distribution will not have any bearing if probate regulations are used. In many cases, what these laws dictate could create an outcome very different than what you would have desired.

A will gives you the ability to influence some of what happens through the probate process. Although the normal probate process will need to proceed, your will can dictate how the assets remaining after the payment of debts and taxes are distributed. It can also influence many other issues, such as what will happen to minor children. Although a will is a more basic estate planning tool than some other options, it can still play a critical role.

Trusts

Trusts are much more versatile and robust tools than a will. While a comprehensive estate plan could make use of a will, a trust is often a better tool for things like minimizing the costs and taxes that your estate is exposed to during the distribution process. Trusts can also offer more flexibility and control of how your estate is handled. They may be a little more expensive and complicated to initiate than a will but they are often a much more secure estate planning tool.

A trust effectively takes ownership of the assets placed within it. However, the trustee, often the creator, is still able to manage and use those assets that belong to the trust. Depending on how the trust is designed, they may even be sold. In the event of your death, a new trustee will be named according to your desires, and they will be responsible for managing the trust according to the way you’ve designed it.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney arrangement is not designed for handling your estate when you’ve died, but rather if you are incapacitated in some way and unable to manage your own affairs. Under defined conditions, a power of attorney gives another person the ability to manage whatever aspects of your healthcare or finances that you give them the responsibility for under the arrangement.

Powers of attorney can be permanent if your incapacitation is going to be permanent or could be temporary if you are able to regain the capacity to manage your affairs. While these tools don’t address what happens with your estate when you’re gone, they are often a part of a comprehensive estate plan, as they will ensure your estate is handled according to your wishes.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are primarily targeted at end-of-life issues. If you don’t want to leave the critical decisions in these circumstances entirely in the hands of healthcare providers and family, advanced directives are a means of making your wishes known. Under these directives, you can describe the kind of care and treatment that you would like in an end-of-life situation and what you would like to avoid. This is also something to consider when building a comprehensive estate plan.

What a Good Estate Plan Protects

Estate plans are designed to address the major concerns you have regarding what could happen if you die or if you are incapacitated. Your attorney should review the areas and issues that you may want to address. Some of these include:

  • Minor Children Planning. Obviously, every parent hopes that nothing will happen to them while their children are young. Unfortunately, though, tragedies can happen. You want to know that in the event of something happening to you, your children will be well-cared for and raised in the way that you would want them to be raised.
  • Your estate plan can include guardianship plans for your children, laying out who will be responsible for them in the event that either parent cannot care for them.

  • Asset Protection Planning. When most people think of estate planning, they are likely thinking of asset protection. A good asset protection plan includes a directive for both what will happen in the event that you die and protections while you’re still alive, as things like divorce, a lawsuit, or creditors can put your assets at risk.
  • If you’ve managed to build wealth and own real estate, personal property, investments, and other items of value, it’s imperative that you work on an asset protection plan as soon as you can.

  • Estate Tax Planning. One of the primary reasons that people consider estate planning is the issue of taxes. You acquire wealth throughout your life and want to be able to decide who it goes to and how it’s handled when you are gone.
  • Taxes, though, could threaten to eat into that wealth and give you much less to direct to your beneficiaries or charitable causes. One of the essential components of a comprehensive estate plan is a method to address the taxes that your estate could potentially be subject to.

  • Special Needs Planning. For parents of a special needs child, even if they are no longer a minor, the question of how they will be cared for when the parents are gone is of great concern. Estate planning can include plans for the care of these individuals. It’s important that you work closely with a lawyer who understands the complexities of care for special needs individuals, as all facets will need to be addressed in the estate plan.
  • Business Planning. Those who own a business often have significant concerns about what will happen to it when they are gone. Many employees depend on the business for their livelihood, and it’s critical that some form of succession plan be in place. Again, this issue can be complicated, and you need someone who understands the unique challenges that could be involved.
  • Trust Administration. Once a trust is in place, that trust often requires some level of maintenance. While a trust offers significant protection, it’s important that the assets involved are managed properly. Anything that’s done with the trust will need to meet certain legal requirements.

It’s imperative that you have an attorney deeply involved with anything that’s going to be done with the trust. You don’t want any improprieties that threaten the trust, the assets within, the trustee, or the beneficiaries. In this way, estate planning may be an ongoing process.

Get Help With Your Estate Planning and Have the Peace of Mind You Need

For anyone who’s acquired wealth, has minor children, owns a business, or cares for someone with special needs, estate planning is an essential task. Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly intimidating, given the number of options that are available to someone. For that reason, it’s absolutely critical that you partner with someone who understands the full breadth of what estate planning entails.

At Burr Law, we take estate planning seriously and avoid a cookie-cutter approach to what we prepare for our clients. We believe that a good estate plan is one that is custom-built to address our clients’ concerns and needs. We take the time to sit with our clients and understand what their objectives are with their estate plan, in addition to asking critical questions that will help us uncover how we should be approaching the plan.

Contact our team today if you are looking for a comprehensive, customized approach to your estate plan.

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