Wills, Estate Planning & Litigation Attorneys
At Carter DeYoung we understand that every family has different needs when it comes to estate planning. Whether you are drawing up a simple will, living trust, or need assistance with something more complex like inheritance or estate tax planning, our experienced estate planning attorneys will help to simplify the process.
Anticipating and planning for the death of a loved one can be a complicated and emotional process but failing to have a plan in place can lead to financial losses and complications with surviving family members. Our approach is personal, practical, creative and collaborative. We work with our clients to explain, develop and implement estate plans for all stages of life and varying levels of wealth.
Most people use a will to leave instructions about what should happen to their property after they die. However, you can also use a will to name an executor, name guardians for children and their property, decide how debts and taxes will be paid, provide for pets, and serve as a backup to a living trust. A common misconception by many people is thinking that an abundance of assets must be accumulated before crafting a will. If the only thing you own is a car, you still should consider a will. What does a will do? What you want it to!
- Durable Powers of Attorney
When a loved one becomes mentally incapacitated due to an accident, dementia, alzheimers or any other illness, they may not be able to make their own decisions moving forward. In this case they will need a trusted person to handle their affairs. Our experienced attorneys will walk you through the process of appointing a medical power of attorney.
- Health Care Proxies
Appointing a trusted person to act as your agent in making medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself is an important decision. A health care proxy will ensure that your medical treatment instructions are carried out, especially in the event that you and your family may disagree about treatment. Without a health care proxy, a doctor may be required to provide you with medical treatment that you would have refused if you were able to do so.
- Living Wills
When someone is left in a vegetative state due to terminal illness or severe injury, their family will likely be burdened with extremely difficult decisions to make on their behalf. A living will is a legal document which outlines any instructions and preferences regarding which life-saving measures are to be taken by medical staff to save or prolong an individual’s life, as well as instructions for end-of-life pain management. Without a living will in place family members may need to make decisions for you, and doctors may be legally responsible to perform procedures that you would not want. Our experienced living will attorneys will help you to set up a legally-binding living will to take the burden of your family and see that you are the one making these decisions.
- Inheritance and Estate Tax Planning
When planning out your will and estate, it is important to also plan on inheritance tax and estate tax. Failure to consider these taxes may result in seeing less of your legacy going to your loved ones. Heirs to your will may be left with the responsibility of paying sizable taxes on their inheritance. An experienced estate planning lawyer from Carter DeYoung will walk you through all of the options of your will and help you to determine the best way to manage the inheritance.
- Gift Tax Planning
Whether you’ve helped a family member in purchasing a house, paid someone’s college tuition or simply given a monetary gift, you may need to pay tax on these gifts. Factors like annual exclusions and the lifetime federal exemption may keep you from needing to pay tax on these gifts. Speak with one of our estate tax planning attorneys to be sure to manage your gifts.
- Revocable Living Trusts
If you would like to avoid the process of probate in your estate planning, then you can use a revocable living trust to determine who will get your property when you die. Property left through a living trust can pass to beneficiaries without probate. You can change a revocable living trust as your situation changes throughout your life. Work with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to set up and manage your revocable living trust and make changes whenever necessary.
- Irrevocable Trusts (including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts)
With an irrevocable trust, terms cannot be modified, amended or terminated without the permission of the grantor’s named beneficiary or beneficiaries. Though a helpful tool in estate planning, irrevocable trusts are a permanent decision made on your assets and should not be entered into without extensive counsel from one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.
- Special and/or Supplemental Needs Trusts
A special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust, is a specialized irrevocable trust that allows the disabled beneficiary to enjoy the use of property that is held in the trust for their benefit, while at the same time allowing the beneficiary to receive essential needs-based government benefits. When setting up a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust, be sure to contact one of the special needs trust attorneys at Carter DeYoung.
- Generation Skipping Trusts
A generation skipping trust is a legally binding trust agreement in which the contributed assets are passed down to the grantor’s grandchildren, rather than the grantor’s children. Speak with one of our skilled estate planning attorneys to determine if a generation skipping trust is right for you.
- Medicaid Planning
When it’s time to apply for Medicaid and plan out your finances and long-term care expenses, it’s important to protect your assets. By designing a thorough Medicaid plan to suit your needs, you can ensure security for your spouse and a legacy for your family. Hire one of our experienced Medicaid and Elder Law attorneys to help you and your loved ones make the right decisions when creating your Medicaid plan.