Warrenton Estate Planning Lawyers
Do you need help creating an estate plan? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Studies show that about 67% of Americans have not created an estate plan or have not updated their existing one in the past five years.
Estate planning ensures your assets are meted out according to your wishes. When incapacitated, you can also entrust someone with your health care and financial decisions.
The role of an estate planning lawyer is to help clients create effective estate plans. Probate attorneys can advise you on the right strategies and documents for your situation. You can trust them with your will, trust assets, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives. As circumstances change, they can also assist you in updating your estate plan.
At Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, we have a team of dedicated Fauquier County will & estate planning lawyers. We understand the challenges that many people face when dealing with estate planning. That is why we offer affordable and efficient custom estate planning services. Reach out to us today for legal consultation on your estate planning matters.
The Estate Planning Process
Creating an estate plan is an ongoing process. It follows these steps:
Identify Your Goals and Objectives
You need to consider your family situation, financial situation, health status, and personal preferences. Also, think about the following:
- Who you’d like to inherit your assets?
- Who is the person making decisions for you in case of your incapacity?
- How do you want to minimize estate taxes and fees?
- How do you want to express your values and wishes?
Gather and Organize Your Information
Gather and organize all the relevant information that will determine your estate plan. Included in this list are:
- Your assets and liabilities
- Income and expenses
- Beneficiaries and heirs
- Existing estate planning documents
- Insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests
- Legal documents that prove your identity, ownership, and beneficiary designations
Consult With an Estate Planning Attorney
Hiring a Virginia estate planning attorney to advise on strategies and legal documents for your estate planning needs is essential. They can also help you avoid common mistakes that could invalidate your estate plan.
Create and Execute Your Estate Planning Documents
These documents may include the following:
- Will: It specifies how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.
- A trust deed: The trust deed specifies how the trust will be constituted and administered by the founder and trustees.
- Power of attorney: It authorizes someone to act on your behalf in financial matters.
- Advance directive: It appoints someone to make medical decisions for you.
- Other documents that may be relevant to your situation.
Your attorney will determine what other documents you need to prepare based on your unique situation.
Fund and Title Your Assets
At this point, you need to transfer control of your assets to your beneficiaries or the trust you’ve created. It helps avoid probate. This process often involves the following:
- Changing beneficiary designations
- Updating deeds and titles
- Opening or closing bank accounts
- Making gifts or donations.
Review and Update Your Estate Plan Regularly
You should review your estate plan every three to five years. Alternatively, you can update it whenever you experience a significant life event. This may include marriage, divorce, birth, death, inheritance, retirement, relocation, or illness.
The Basic Elements of an Estate Plan
Some essential elements are common to most estate plans, regardless of your age or wealth. Individuals can create wills, trusts, or power of attorney in estate planning.
A will is a valuable instrument in situations where an estate can easily be distributed without much complication. It specifies asset distribution and the individual in charge of administering your estate. A will may also name guardians for your minor children. When someone dies having made a will, their estate goes through probate, a court-supervised process. Probate involves several steps, including paying outstanding debts of the estate and distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries the decedent named.
Without the will, your estate will be regarded as intestate when you die, and it will be administered subject to Virginia state law. That means the laws of the Commonwealth determine who are the heirs and who will receive the decedent’s property. In that case, probate can be confusing, time-consuming, and costly.
Our estate planning lawyers can efficiently guide you through Virginia’s estate administration and probate process.
A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer assets to a trustee. 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 more extended period of time to ensure the wishes of the grantor are met.
The different types of trusts include:
- Revocable trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Living trusts
- Testamentary trusts
Trust can help individuals protect assets from creditors as well as reduce estate taxes. Trusts can also be used to manage estate assets for beneficiaries who can’t manage them responsibly. In addition to asset protection, some trusts can help avoid probate. Regardless, trust must pass through the trust administration process.
Lawyers with experience in estate planning can explain the legal implications of different trusts to you and your beneficiaries.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney authorizes someone to act on your behalf in financial matters. A power of attorney can be effective immediately or only upon your incapacity.
Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC today for customized assistance with your estate planning needs.
How Ashwell & Ashwell: Streamlining The Estate Law Process
Here is what you can expect if you hire us to help you with your estate plan:
- Initial consultation: We provide estate planning guidance for future financial security. 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.
- Wills and beneficiary designations. Our team can prepare and execute the proper documents and review them periodically. This ensures their validity and accuracy. We can also coordinate your will with other aspects of your estate plan.
- Trusts and trust administration. They can create and execute the appropriate trust documents. The lawyer can also oversee the performance and compliance of your trustee.
- Litigation: Our attorneys offer formidable advocacy in court for any legal disputes. Our attorneys use their experience 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.
Reach Out to Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Today
Estate planning helps in protecting your assets. You also get to protect the legacy for yourself and your loved ones. However, estate planning is often complex and confusing. You need the guidance of an attorney with extensive experience.
Are you looking for an estate planning lawyer in Virginia? At Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, we can help families with their estate planning needs.
We offer personalized and comprehensive estate planning services. Whether you need a simple will or a complex trust, we can help you achieve peace of mind and protect your family’s future.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our Fauquier County will & estate planning attorneys.