Wills and Trusts
At Bell Law, LLC, we believe that estate planning should do more than just protect assets designated for your heirs. Money and assets can be subject to hefty taxation from both the state and federal government. Our estate planning practice takes a “big picture” approach in not only protecting valued possessions, but also maximizing value for beneficiaries.
Bell Law, LLC, is committed to provide quality estate planning for individuals, couples and families. We believe that it is extremely important to have an estate plan in place that not only ensures your assets are distributed as you desire upon death but also designates an agent in the case of your incapacity or appoints a legal guardian for your minor children.
Recommending The Right Estate Plan
After a comprehensive review of your assets, which may include investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, real property, and business interests, Bell Law, LLC, can recommend an estate plan that best accommodates your estate plan goals and needs.
A simple estate plan may include the following:
1) Last will and testament — This legal document effectively distributes your assets as you desire, including specific gifts, designates a guardian for any minor children, and appoints an executor who administers your estate upon death.
2) Power of attorney for property — This legal document allows you to designate an agent who has the power to act on your behalf regarding your property in the case of your incapacitation, disability or inability to act.
3) Power of attorney for health care — This legal document allows you to designate an agent who has the power to make health care decisions on your behalf in the case of your incapacitation, disability or inability to act. It also allows you to make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment, organ donation, and restrictions on medical treatment.
4) Living will — This legal document further indicates your desire for certain death delaying procedures.
Some individuals, couples and families may desire a more complex estate plan in order to avoid probate, take advantage of the federal and state estate tax exemption, offer greater creditor protection, or place conditions on distributions made to beneficiaries. In such instances, trusts may be appropriate.
A complex estate plan may include:
1) Will with testamentary trust — While this legal document does not necessarily avoid probate or maximize the federal and state estate tax exemption, it does allow for conditions to be placed on distributions such as holding a beneficiary’s share until they reach a certain age or restricting a beneficiary’s access to asset by creating a trust which is administered upon death.
2) Revocable living trusts — This legal document takes advantage of the federal and state estate tax exemptions and effectively avoids probate because assets are effectively transferred while living. The grantor usually maintains control of the trust assets and may easily transfer assets in and out of the trust during his or her lifetime.
3) Marital deduction trusts — This legal document is available for married couples and allows couples to maximize the federal and state estate tax exemptions by creating a marital trust and a family trust and avoid probate. The spouses maintain control over their respective trusts and they may easily transfer assets in and out of trust during their lifetime.
4) Irrevocable trusts — In addition to taking advantage of tax benefits and avoiding probate, these trusts also offer maximum protection against creditors but the grantor must relinquish control over the trust assets.
Wills And Trusts
The attorneys at Bell Law, LLC, provide personalized advocacy in all their areas of practice. That approach is also vital in developing an estate plan. We identify the specific needs of our clients and assess estate tax implications on families and beneficiaries. From there, we communicate the timeline and guide them through a sometimes complex process.
Most clients come to us seeking a simple will package. We secure the information necessary to draft the documents you need. If tax issues, probate or asset transfers are a concern, we can create trusts to shield your finances and possessions from estate taxes.
For clients with $100,000 or more in assets titled to the deceased, not including real estate, probate is required. The process is complex and proactive planning can prevent an estate from reaching that amount. From there, we apply for our client to be named executor or administrator, leaving the decisions in their hands and not needing court approval.