Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate owner, you want to be in complete control of your assets. You don’t have time to deal with poorly written or substandard paperwork. Too often, estate planning consultants leave legal loopholes that can be exploited down the road. Don’t make the mistake of trusting your estate into the wrong hands.

Probate, Trust, & Guardianship Litigation

Whether you are seeking to draft airtight probate documentation, set up secure trusts, or you’ve found yourself in a tricky guardianship situation, our experienced estate planning team has the tools you need to get the job done.  Our firm deals with every aspect of probate, trust, and guardianship litigation, including:
  • Defense and prosecution of a fiduciary claims breach
  • Litigation of fiduciary surcharge and removal
  • Accounting litigation
  • Fiduciary risk management
  • Will and trust dictation and execution
  • Contesting of wills and trusts
  • Trust modification termination
  • Guardianship litigation

Adult Guardianship Litigation

Guardianship litigation is simply put, never an ideal situation. We understand the complexities of the system, but we also can relate to the sensitivities of all family members involved. Our professional team knows how to fight effectively without adding to the trauma in a difficult situation. Some basic elements of the guardianship process to keep in mind are as follows:
  • The guardianship process is usually initiated when the children or spouse of a mentally or physically incapacitated adult seek to obtain legal responsibility for that person’s well-being.
  • Either total or partial authority can be granted to the loved one’s legal guardian, also known as a “ward.”
  • The guardian may be responsible for medical treatment choices, living decisions, asset and wealth management, and more.
  • Guardianship litigation is incredibly complicated and typically requires the assistance of an extremely knowledgeable party.

Tax Planning

In today’s political and business climate, tax planning is mandatory if you are serious about cutting expenses. Taxes are an inherent expense you will face every year, whether you plan for it or not. Creating a plan is a guaranteed way to save a significant number of real dollars this year without increasing your workload. Of course, every person and company is different, and we can’t guarantee you will save any specific amount of cash. What we can guarantee you is that creating and following a tax plan will save you money.

3 Basic Plan Strategies

Most tax plans employ one or more of the three basic tax planning strategies.

Reduce Income - while this may sound odd, the idea here is to funnel off income into various productive streams that will not be taxed, while strategically placing your income into the tax bracket that will optimized the amount you keep.

Increase Tax Deductions - depending on your income level and spending habits, itemized deductions can play a massive role in your tax savings. Major expenses like state taxes, your home’s mortgage, and large charitable donations can actually work toward saving your hard-earned cash.

Use Tax Credits - there have been an abundance of tax credits available in recent years and there is no reason you shouldn’t take full advantage of this opportunity to save. Experienced tax professionals are well versed in available credits and similar opportunities for saving, and they can help match relevant credits to your financial situation.

Tax planning is a fairly complex activity, simply because our tax system is unreasonably complicated. It can be difficult for the average taxpayer to understand the opportunities available to him or her. Having a tax planner at your side gives you a much better chance of optimizing your savings.

Trust & Will Preparation

How many times have you seen the messy aftermath of poor estate planning? Too often, we see families broken apart, friends made enemies, or court cases lasting for decades, virtually eliminating the very resources being fought over. Many times, estate owners fail to make intentional plans, for both life and death, leaving the distribution of their estate to be devoured by enormous government fees.  

Leaving An Inheritance

People tend to forget the importance of leaving a will. Whether due to ignorance, misinformation, or perhaps, apathy, many citizens leave nothing for their kids simply because they failed to leave a will. Roughly 55% of Americans today do not have a last willing testament. This unfortunate statistic has remained relatively constant since 2000.  39% males believe that getting a will made is not necessary.  26% of the females do not get their wills, because they believe it is too costly. They do not realize that a basic will is just quite simple and inexpensive to set up. In the 1990s, 90% of Americans who got their wills made at that time were over the age of 60 years. 92% of people below the age of 35 do not possess a will.  While it doesn't make sense to plan for the distribution of your assets if you don’t actually have any, very few adults are entirely without distributable assets. If you own a home, you need to have a will. If you have a life-insurance policy, you need a will. If your bank account has four figures in it, you need a will.

Contesting A Will

Contesting a will is no simple matter. You will want the help of an experienced estate law team who understands the complexities of the system and has been there before. The most common grounds for successfully contesting a will are listed below.

Lack of Testament Capacity - this is the most common grounds for contesting a will and basically means that the testator did not have the mental capacity to fully understand the nature of his or her will at the time of dictation.

Insane Delusion - this claim testifies that the testator was fixated on a false reality at the time of dictation. In other words, the testator was experienced some form of delusion, possibly due to old age, medication, etc., which influenced the will’s dictation.

Duress - the assertion that the testator’s will was influenced by some threat of physical harm or some form of threatening coercion.

Fraud - the claim that the testator was intentionally represented in a fraudulent manner.

Defending Against A Will Contest

Most of the defensive measures to be taken in defending a will take place before the death of the testator. An estate planning attorney can take measures to verify that the testator has his or her full mental capacities and that every aspect of the dictation and execution is in order. If you have found yourself having to defend what you know to be a legitimate will against unpleased benefactors, our team might still be able to help.

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