Estates

Attorneys Assisting with Estates

Serving the State of Virginia

Your estate consists of everything you own— your car, home, other real estates, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or small, everyone has an estate. The question is, "What happens to your estate when you die?" You will probably want to determine how your estate is distributed upon your disability or death. To make sure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You want to do this in a manner that will not incur a lot of expense.

That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that. It should also:

      • Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
      • Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
      • Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
      • Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
      • Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in the case of an extended illness or injury.
      • Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
      • Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.

You may also need assistance administering an estate if a family member or friend dies with or without a will. It will be necessary to probate that person’s estate. Probate is a process that settles the decedent’s estate through the court.

Power of Attorneys –Are documents in which you can authorize another person to act on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. The Power of Attorney can be drafted to give the POA certain specific powers to act under certain specific circumstances, pursuant to your decision.

Advance Medical Directives–Are instructions you give your physicians telling them what kinds of medical care you do or do not want if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. A "living will" and "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care" are advance directives. In Living Wills you specify the medical care you do or do not want to receive if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Living Wills usually apply to end-of-life situations. Durable Power of Attorney for health care, you appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you ONLY, when you make the decisions for yourself.

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