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Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the transfer or sale of an estate as a whole or of its individual assets.  Our Estate planning process helps eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. We work with the executors of the estate, often family members, or guardians who are designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity to ensure a clear understanding of the process and goals.
Estate planning involves the will, trusts, beneficiary designations, powers of appointment, property ownership (joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety), gift, and powers of attorney, specifically the durable financial power of attorney and the durable medical power of attorney.
Specific final arrangements, such as whether to be buried or cremated, are also often part of the estate planning process and we often recommend a living will as a part of that process. More sophisticated estate plans may even cover deferring or decreasing estate taxes or winding up a business.
The tax code allows people to set up charitable remainder trusts and set up qualified personal residence trusts to own their personal residence yet leave it to their children without estate tax.
Mediation serves as an alternative to a full-scale litigation to settle estate disputes. At a mediation, family members and beneficiaries discuss plans on transfer of assets. Because of the potential conflicts associated with blended families, step siblings, and multiple marriages, creating an estate plan through mediation allows people to confront the issues head-on and design a plan that will minimize the chance of future family conflict and meet their financial goals.