Helping Clients Protect Their Families Through Careful Planning

Many people postpone estate planning because they don’t want to think about their own death. While considering your future death may not seem like a pleasant prospect, failing to do so can mean significant losses for your loved ones. Family members and friends could be left without the inheritance you intended to give, and you could give up a large portion of your wealth to unnecessary estate taxes.

When you contact an estate planning attorney, you will get help inventorying your assets to help you decide which items to pass on to beneficiaries. You may also identify who you wish to execute your estate plan, including who will gain guardianship of any minor children in your care. Additionally, an estate planning lawyer can help you protect your investments by minimizing the tax burden on your estate and assigning responsibility for your finances, healthcare, and other vital matters in case you are incapacitated.

When you reach out to our legal team, you will instantly feel that our attorneys care deeply about your success and protecting your assets. We can help with every step of the estate planning process, including identifying your goals and needs, preparing adequate estate planning documents, and executing the estate of a loved one who named you the executor. Call now for your estate planning consultation at 540-386-1277.

What Documents Are Commonly Used in Virginia Estate Plans?

Each individual is unique, and each estate plan should match that person’s needs, goals, and interests. For this reason, it is difficult to say what documents you will need in your estate plan. However, the following are some common documents that many individuals in Virginia use to protect their property and provide a bright future for their loved ones:

  • Wills – Many people are familiar with the will as part of the estate plan. This document names your executor and specifies which descendants will inherit what part of the estate. It also names a guardian for minor children.
  • Trusts – Trusts are a valuable part of an estate plan that offers asset protection and prevents you from bearing an unreasonable tax burden. Trusts can also provide more detailed instructions regarding the distribution of assets to each beneficiary. There are many different forms of trusts, so please speak with a trusted estate planning attorney to get more information about what trust is right for you.
  • Living trusts – One kind of trust that many people use is living trusts. These documents allow the trust creator to control their property up until their death yet still provide tax benefits.
  • Powers of Attorney – These documents authorize a trusted friend or relative to exercise legal rights and responsibilities on your behalf. In certain situations, the legal powers may continue after you are incapacitated.
  • Healthcare proxy or medical directive – You may also name someone who can make medical decisions on your behalf through an advance directive, also known as a healthcare proxy.

What Happens to Someone Who Dies Intestate in Virginia?

Individuals who die intestate in Virginia forfeit their right to dictate how their estate is distributed. Without a will, the decedent cannot name beneficiaries, name an executor, or choose who will have guardianship of their children. Having a last will in place prevents these issues and ensures your assets are protected.

If you die without a will, the court will have the right to distribute your estate according to Virginia law. A judge will allocate your assets to your spouse, children, parents, and finally to your siblings. In cases of divorce or remarriage, this line of succession can become quite complicated, leading to a lengthy and expensive legal suit. Reach out to our legal team today to learn more about how to create a valid will and how a will can protect your family.

What Happens During Virginia Probate?

The probate process can be quite complex and overwhelming. If you are the named executor for a loved one who has passed away, you should seek out legal counsel right away to ensure your duties are carried out appropriately.

Some of the major steps that occur during probate in Virginia include:

  • Contacting the proper authorities
  • Contacting beneficiaries to let them know about the execution of the will
  • Inventorying the decedent’s estate
  • Paying off creditors
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Handling estate taxes

Executors in Virginia have many additional duties, including valuing and appraising estate assets, resolving any dispute that may arise among beneficiaries, and navigating the complex processes of Virginia surrogate’s court. Hiring an attorney can be an excellent way of getting help with these immense duties as the administrator for your friend or family member. Call our law firm now for help navigating your responsibilities as an estate executor.

Should You Hire Our Estate Planning Attorneys?

Whether you are in the estate planning stages, need to modify your current estate plan due to divorce or other family changes, or need help with the administration of a loved one’s estate, you can rely on our skilled team of attorneys. We have decades of experience helping clients craft estate plans that match their unique needs. Our understanding of Virginia elder law allows us to protect our clients and provide a better future for their loved ones.

Estate plans can include a wide variety of documents, each with powerful ways of protecting your wealth and passing on an inheritance to your loved ones. When making these critical decisions, it is essential to have excellent legal counsel and representation. We promise to listen carefully to all your concerns and answer your questions in terms you can understand. Don’t go it alone when it comes to protecting the wealth you have spent a lifetime building. Call our caring, compassionate legal team today to schedule your initial consultation at 540-386-1277..


Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Offices Today!

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