Wills And Estates
Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, attorneys provide the estate planning guidance and the documents necessary for clients to pass on their legacy. Their professionalism in representing a client’s intent helps smooth estate administration. But if a will is contested or probate litigation arises, our attorneys are formidable advocates in court. And because Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, is a full-service legal firm, we can help with any real estate transactions that arise from the settlement of an estate, estates and probate, future financial security.
Streamlining The Estate Law Process
- Initial consultation: We’ll identify the goals and challenges of your situation and map out the estate planning documents needed, along with realistic assessments of the likely timeline and costs.
- Documents and administration: Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, conducts research and discovery to gather the most compelling evidence and build the strongest legal approach for the specific judge, arbitrator or others you’re likely to face.
- Litigation: Our attorneys use their expertise with previous will and probate challenges to build the right legal strategy. Thanks to this thorough preparation, we walk into court alongside you, quietly confident we are both ready.
Time to Hire a Probate Attorney
Faced with the role of executor or trustee can be daunting. Deadlines, beneficiaries, debts and demands hearings, and more can truly be overwhelming if you do not have any experience with probate administration in Virginia. It may be time to hire counsel to assist you with the administration of a probate estate.
Understanding the Executor’s Roles
In general, if the decedent has a will, an executor will be directed to follow the directions outlined in the document and also the procedures outlined in the Code of Virginia to ensure all debts and creditors have been paid if there are sufficient assets.
But what happens with an unhappy beneficiary or if a will needs to be challenged due to some irregularities? Trained legal counsel may be able to assist.
Often, the basic marshaling of assets and meeting accounting and inventory deadlines can be daunting to anyone. With counsel assisting, the executor or administrator will ensure compliance with state law and further reduce the chances of personal liability for inappropriate action or misuse of funds, and additionally limits the likelihood that beneficiaries will become disgruntled and challenge your work.
Challenges of Clarity
Unique issues can arise as well, including ambiguous language in a will that requires a filing called a Bill for Aid and Direction. Also, there may be situations where a decedent has competing instruments, as in a will and trust, that do not act in concert together and require legal opinions on what assets are held by the probate or trust estate.
Legal Counsel in Northern Virginia And Piedmont Region
The attorneys at Ashwell & Ashwell have decades of experience guiding clients through legal troubles. When you are faced with the administration of a probate estate, or needed assistance with the administration, or raise issues and concerns with the administration of a probate or trust estate, call the attorneys at Ashwell & Ashwell to help you throughout Northern Virginia and the Piedmont region.
Planning For The Future
Most individuals and families struggle with the best option when it comes to estate planning, and often end up asking “do we need a trust?” This answer depends on several factors, and may be the best option for you and yours depending on the complexities of your estate, and what you are looking to accomplish.
About Revocable Trusts
A trust is created when a “grantor,” or the trust creator, sets up the trust and appoints a trustee. The grantor places assets into or titles assets as trust property that will be handled, governed, and distributed by the terms of the written trust agreement. Most living trusts are set up to be revocable, meaning they can be amended and/or revoked completely during the lifetime of the grantor depending on the individual’s needs.
A specific benefit can be to keep assets out of “probate,” thereby limiting the potential delay and costs associated with the traditional estate administration process. Probate can take a substantial amount of time and is a process whereby there are publicly available filings of personal estate information and disclosures as to estate assets.
Creating the Right Estate Plan
A will is a useful instrument in the event an estate can easily be distributed without much complication. In the event you are in need of a more dynamic planning tool, a revocable trust can be valuable and permit the grantor increased protection of assets to third parties, creditors, or other outside interference.
While a will is a one time distribution made through the probate courts, a trust permits the trustee more latitude and ability to marshal assets and allocate resources of the trust over a longer period of time to ensure the wishes of the grantor are met.
If you have questions or wish to schedule a time to meet with an attorney, please call our office at 540-991-9100.