In Virginia and Tennessee, if a person dies without a will or estate plan, state law determines who will inherit assets. This is the case even if a person clearly expressed their wishes concerning who they wanted to inherit specific assets during life.
Unfortunately, without a will or estate plan, an unintended legacy may be left – a legacy of survivors fighting over heirlooms and valuable assets, and estate and probate litigation.
Having the right estate plan is crucial for peace of mind and to ensure your goals and wishes are achieved. I have been assisting clients with their estate planning needs for over 25 years. My prior experience as a CPA has proven invaluable in this process.
I will discuss with you your needs and goals and carefully formulate and recommend a plan that is right for you, whether it involves complex estate tax planning or a simple will. A trust may be desirable in some instances, while in other cases a will may be sufficient for estate transfer objectives.
Protecting Your Assets During Life
In addition to providing for the transfer of assets upon death, a crucial part of estate planning is to protect client assets during life, and to make sure that end-of-life wishes are respected. In this regard, all clients should have medical and other powers of attorney drafted so that if they become incapacitated and cannot express their wishes for their care, a designated person (called the “attorney-in-fact”) will have the power to make decisions and act on their behalf.
Without this important document, a guardian will need to be appointed by the court, and the court will have significant oversight over the actions of the guardian. This can be both an expensive and time-consuming process, which normally can be avoided if the proper documents are in place.
Respecting Your Wishes at End-of-Life
We all want to ensure that our end-of-life wishes will be respected if we are experiencing a terminal event and cannot communicate our wishes for care and treatment. A Living Will provides the instruction to physicians and medical providers concerning our treatment if we are in such a position.
Without this document, medical providers may need to rely upon family members to make these decisions, or they may be forced in some circumstances to make decisions that are not in accordance with a patient’s wishes. A Living Will that sets forth such instructions obviates the need for seeking instructions from family members or leaving it to the healthcare providers to make such decisions.
The Initial Meeting – Your Free Consultation
Your initial meeting with me will typically be at no-charge. During this meeting, we can discuss your circumstances, the nature of your estate, your intended beneficiaries, and your wishes concerning medical powers of attorney, living wills, and similar matters. I can then explain the services that I provide, and advise you as to the components of an estate plan that I believe will be the best for you based upon your circumstances.
I would look forward to meeting with you at your convenience.
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