ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE
Estate planning is the establishment of a specific plan for preserving and pro-actively managing your wealth while you’re alive and distributing it after your death. You may own these assets separately or jointly with others.
Estate planning done right will accomplish your personal and family goals, making the management of your financial and legal affairs smoother, further proper planning can minimize taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern.
By estate, we are talking about all assets of any value that you own, including real property, any business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal effects and personal property. Estate plan refers to the means in which your estate is passed on to your loved ones at your death.
As you grow older, protecting your independence and dignity requires special planning. Issues such as guardianship, conservatorship, powers of attorney and death with dignity grow in importance. Your wishes can’t be honored unless you have the right legal tools in place.
Probate is neither a legal document, nor is it a strategy. Probate is a court procedure with complex, formal rules designed to take care of people who cannot take care of their own affairs, namely people who are incapacitated or those who have died. However, probate can be costly, time consuming, and invade your privacy. You, your loved ones, and your assets, can avoid probate only through proper legal documents.
The death or attainment of a specific age of a trust beneficiary often triggers action by the trustee. Depending on the terms of the trust agreement, the trust may terminate or continue in further trust. In either case, the trustee may be responsible for collecting the trust assets, paying the debts of the trust settlor or grantor, including income and estate taxes, filing tax returns, accounting to the beneficiaries and distributing the trust assets. As a fiduciary, the trustee has a duty to the beneficiaries to act responsibly. We provide the trustee guidance every step of the way through the trust administration process.
Estate and trust administration are similar procedures. However, a probate estate typically is done through the probate court, while a trust administration avoids probate.
CONTACT OUR FIRM
David S., Area Operations Manager
“We’ve had attorneys who weren’t nearly as responsive as Lee’s firm has been for us. Our business can be complicated at times and we routinely deal with large national corporations. It’s comforting to know that any legal issue we have, big or small, that all I have to do is make a phone call and will get a helpful response that same day.”
Janey R. , Managing Member of Company
“Lee has been with us thru the thick and the thin of our business operations. We are currently in a substantial growth phase which has largely been accomplished by refinancing we were able to obtained when Lee drafted the paperwork to restructure multiple layers of internal ownership for us. We couldn’t be happier with our relationship.”
Marcia R., CEO of Company
“In today’s world, you need to be proactive in dealing with employment issues, and that is exactly what Lee’s firm has done for us over the years. Our company is in the health care industry and we employ approximately 200 people in different locations. Lee has counseled us on the ever-changing legal issues relating to employment law, helped us prepare/revise our employment handbook and represents us as needed when litigation has occurred in both state and federal courts.”
James L., Chairman of the Board
“The nature of an interstate trucking company requires an experienced lawyer being available at all times to evaluate and timely respond to a variety of situations and issues. Lee (and Ralph Hicks before him) has consistently been there for us over the years, as well as helping us with the transition to the next generation running our business.”
Gregg B., President of Company
“Lee’s law firm has represented our family businesses for years, most recently assisting us with a multi-million dollar sale of one of our companies and the complex buyout of a manager/shareholder in a different company. We couldn’t be happier with the high-quality legal representation we have consistently received from all of these attorneys.”