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Estate Planning Attorney Overview

Lawyer Assistance With Preparation of Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney

When someone dies, their estate (their assets and debts) must be distributed to their heirs. While many people have a plan for how they would like their property to be passed on to their loved ones, their wishes must be set down in a legal document. Without a will in place, state laws will determine how their property will be divided among their heirs.

When planning for what should happen after your death or near the end of your life, it is essential to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who understands the laws of the state where you reside and the best methods of protecting your assets, preserving your wealth, carrying out your last wishes, and passing your property to your heirs.

Estate Planning Tools

An estate planning attorney can provide families with assistance in preparing legal documents or addressing other concerns, including:

  • Wills - A last will and testament sets down a person's wishes for how their property should be distributed to their heirs, and it can also be used to name a guardian for their minor children. An attorney can ensure that a will's terms are legally valid and enforceable.
  • Trusts - A trust provides a person with flexibility and control over how their assets are managed and how they will be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust. Trusts can also be used to safeguard assets from creditors or abusive family members, provide a person with financial resources near the end of their life, or provide resources to loved ones who have disabilities or special needs without jeopardizing their ability to receive public benefits.
  • Power of Attorney - A person may wish to name an agent who will be authorized to make decisions about their healthcare or finances if they become unable to make decisions on their own.
  • Advance Directives - Documents such as living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders allow a person to specify what types of life-saving medical care they wish to receive if they become incapacitated or cannot communicate their wishes.
  • Guardianship - Someone who provides care for an elderly or disabled family member may wish to be named as that person's legal guardian, providing them with legal protections and allowing them to handle that person's financial and legal affairs.
  • Elder Law - An attorney can assist elderly people with legal issues related to Social Security, Medicaid, and disability benefits.
  • Probate - After a person dies, their will is entered into probate court by the executor of their estate. An attorney can assist executors in carrying out their duties, and they can also help resolve issues with contested wills or estates.

By working with an estate planning lawyer, you can be sure that your family's financial needs will be met as you reach an advanced age and after your death, and you can make sure that your will, trust, or other documents meet the requirements of state law.

Featured Attorneys in Your Area

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Thomas Walsh

Thomas Walsh

Law Offices of Petrovich & Walsh

10605 Judicial Drive, Suite A-5
Fairfa, VA 22030
Phone: 703-934-9191View Profile
Shannon Otto

Shannon Otto

Locke & Quinn

4928 W. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23230
Phone: 804-285-6253View Profile
Andrew Protogyrou

Andrew Protogyrou

Protogyrou & Rigney

125 St. Pauls Blvd., Suite 150
Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 757-625-1775View Profile
Thomas Dunlap

Thomas Dunlap

Dunlap, Bennett & Ludwig

8300 Boone Blvd., Suite 550
Vienna, VA 22182
Phone: 703-442-3890View Profile
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