Planning for the inevitable future.
Your family and your estate are unique. Creating an estate plan is your opportunity to provide a road map for how your wishes should be carried out both during your lifetime and in the future. A complete estate plan should address the possibility of incapacity for yourself or a loved one and asset administration, as well as what happens after death. The Gravis Law estate planning team will help you create an effective and efficient plan that reflects your goals and wishes – in language that you can understand!
We gather information about your family, assets and your wishes and intent, in order to make informed and appropriate recommendations for a plan that best achieves your goals. In many cases, at the initial consultation we can quote a flat fee for preparing your estate planning documents so you know in advance how much our services will cost. For more complex estates, we may need to bill hourly for complex assets such as a business, tax planning and other special issues.
Issues to be addressed include:
- who gets your stuff when you are gone,
- who is responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out,
- who will make decisions for you if you cannot make your wishes known,
- what kind of extraordinary care do you want or not want if you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious,
- who will take care of your minor children if you cannot,
- what if one of your intended beneficiaries has a disability,
- will your heirs need to pay taxes on their inheritance,
- what if there is someone you want to exclude, and
- Remember every family is different!
A complete estate plan should include three main documents:
- Last Will and Testament
- Power of Attorney
- Health Care Directive or Living Will
Elder Law encompasses a wide range of matters affecting older and aging or disabled clients and their families. An Elder Law attorney specializes in the federal, state and local laws and regulations that can affect:
- Medicaid planning,
- Long term care,
- Plus, all the normal estate planning basics discussed above.
Trusts are a means of controlling how and when someone has access to assets. Every trust has a document creating the trust and spelling out who is responsible for managing the assets (the Trustee) and instructions for that Trustee on how the assets are to be managed and distributed. There are lots of different kinds of trusts and they can be set up in different ways.
Trusts can be set up in a will to be established later or can be effective immediately. Common uses for trusts are:
- Living Trusts: to manage assets during your lifetime,
- Minor Trusts: to manage assets for children,
- Educational trusts: to pay for school, college or training,
- Special Needs trusts: for disabled persons or those who may be receiving government benefits,
- Spendthrift trusts: to protect assets from a beneficiary’s creditors,
- Marital Trusts: usually for tax planning or in blended families.
If you would like to support a cause or organization that is close to your heart, that can be incorporated into your estate plan in a number of ways. If you want to see the effects of your donation we can propose lifetime gifting options and ideas. If you want to make a gift in your will, we can advise on the most effective ways to do so. We also work with clients to ensure the charity is a qualified organization if tax planning is involved and propose language designed to ensure your gifting goals are effective.
Always taxes! There are estate taxes, also known as inheritance or death taxes. There are gift taxes, income taxes (particularly for retirement assets). These rules and laws have been changed and amended at a dizzying pace in the past few years.
For larger estates, estate taxes may be an issue at both the federal government and some state governments.
The United States federal government wants to collect estate taxes from estates of over $11,580,000.00 in 2020. Each state has their owns rules for estate taxes, some states do not collect an estate tax when someone dies (currently Idaho, Florida and Michigan do not, for Gravis offices), but Washington and Oregon do, at far lower dollar amounts than the federal government.
We know how to structure your will or trust to maximize your estate tax exemptions and can advise on the tax consequences of your estate plan.
Call to schedule a consultation with one of our highly qualified estate planning attorneys. Providing a completed Will Information Sheet before your consultation helps your attorney prepare any additional questions and information in advance.
Click on a specific area below to get started.
Elder law encompasses a wide range of legal matters affecting older and aging clients. Our Gravis Law Attorneys can advise and advocate for elderly clients, their families and their caregivers in a wide range of legal issues that face older clients.
A living will, also known as a health care directive, designates what medical procedures a client wishes to be subjected to in the event of a terminal or permanent condition.
Alongside and apart from the Wills and Trusts aspect of estate planning, having an effective durable power of attorney in place for both financial and health care decisions is a cheap alternative to an expensive guardianship proceeding and a must have.
Probate law can be tricky and complicated but at Gravis Law we are dedicated to making complicated situations uncomplicated.
We offer a consultation to first assess what instrument(s) or service(s) will best fit your situation without overdoing it and incurring unnecessary costs or maintenance.
Our Estate Planning Attorneys focus on your goals and your unique situation.
Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die.
It's not a matter of 'if', it's a matter of 'when.'
When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
If you don’t have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it.
At disability: If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to terminate the appointment even if you recover.
That is estate planning—simplifying the process in advance and changing the fear of the unknown into the peace of mind of knowing for certain.
- Know that your property will only go to those you want it to go to on your passing.
- Know who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.
- Know who will make health and financial decisions on your behalf if and when you become unable to make them on your own.
- Know who will take care of your minor children and who will be responsible for caring for the the property you leave them.
- Know that you can provide for a disabled loved one without disqualifying them from benefit programs.
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