Estate Planning Services Backed By Experience
Many people (and attorneys) think that any attorney can draft a will or a trust. This is not true. A good estate planning attorney must be conversant with Virginia will, trust, and fiduciary laws, state and federal gift, estate, and fiduciary income tax laws, restrictions on the numerous retirement plan options (IRAs, 401Ks, 403Bs, TIAA-CREFs, pensions, annuities, etc.), state and federal entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, SSDI, SSI, etc.) and investor guidelines. She must also be extremely vigilant as the laws affecting your estate plan are continually changing.
The purposes of an estate plan are to ensure people of your choice are designated to help protect you and manage your assets in the event of your incapacity, protect your hard-earned assets for the benefit of your survivors, and minimize the hassle and strain placed on those survivors in dealing with your death. You accomplish these purposes by creating a plan for the management and distribution of your estate with lawyers who are immersed in these variant areas of law and experienced in how they work together to meet your objectives. You also need attorneys who are dedicated, literally, to the language of the law; you do not want your well-thought-out planning to fail after your death because of incorrect verbiage or fatal grammatical or punctuation errors.
We have extensive experience in drafting the following types of estate planning documents:
- Simple and complex wills
- Revocable living trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Credit shelter and marital trusts
- Generation skipping trusts
- Charitable trusts (eg, charitable lead and remainder trusts)
- Grantor trusts (eg, retained interest and personal residence trusts)
- Medicaid and veterans asset protection trusts
In congruence with thinking that any attorney can write a trust, many people (attorneys included) think that once the document is signed, the plan is complete. This simply is not true. An estate plan is only effective if it is carried out. A revocable living trust, for example, does not avoid probate if the property is not retitled into the trust. And, even if the trust is fully “funded” at the decedent’s death, there are normally some administrative matters to which the trustee must attend.
Our attorneys and staff at our Williamsburg law firm are experienced in assisting in all matters of estate and trust administration, from answering your questions to maintaining your books and filing required documents and tax returns. We commonly assist clients with the following:
- Qualification and bonding
- Probate tax return
- Asset inventory
- Annual accountings
- Federal estate tax returns
- Distribution of estate assets
- Deeds of distribution
- Resolving beneficiary disputes
- Estate and trust litigation
At The Peninsula Center for Estate and Lifelong Planning, we believe that giving peace of mind to clients with relatively small estates is just as important as doing sophisticated estate tax planning for clients with larger estates. Whatever the size of your estate, we will help you craft the plan that is right for you. Our attorney and staff at our Williamsburg, Virginia, law firm are experienced in assisting in all matters of elate and trust administration, from answering your questions to maintaining your books and filing required documents and tax returns.
Fiduciary Accounting Issues
Every probate and trust administration carries with it certain reporting requirements. Sometimes, the fiduciary must report to the court, and at other times the fiduciary must simply report to the beneficiaries. Different requirements exist for decedent estates and estates of incapacitated individuals. In addition, the fiduciary is responsible for ensuring that all tax returns are or have been filed and all taxes paid. A fiduciary who neglects this responsibility will be held personally liable for the payment of back taxes, along with any penalties and interest assessed by the taxing authority. Oftentimes, fiduciaries are unaware of these responsibilities. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge will not protect you. Our lawyers and paralegals know what the rules are and regularly advise clients and assist them in satisfying all of their fiduciary duties under the law.
Providing Exceptional Estate And Trust Administration Services
If you need help distributing a loved one’s assets, handling your spouse’s will or trust, or dealing with any other probate or trust administration issue, please contact us at 757-847-5596 or lay email to schedule a meeting at The Peninsula Center for Estate and Lifelong Planning.
Making Sure Your Last Will And Testament Is Valid And Enforceable
Based in Williamsburg, we serve clients on the Virginia Peninsula and throughout Hampton Roads, including the Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck. Call today to schedule your initial consultation. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and personal check for our legal fees. To schedule a meeting, please call us at 757-847-5596 or email us.