The first question we ask is “What is most important to you?” An estate plan will not work unless it meets your personal objective. What makes us different is that we listen to what you want, figure out a way to help you achieve your goal, and take the time to explain the law and the documents to you. If you don’t understand what your documents say, we won’t let you sign them until you do. Small asset estates can be complex, and high net-worth estates can be simple. Every client is different.
Estate planning involves getting you the fundamental documents you need to help a future crisis situation less difficult to handle. These documents are invaluable tools to help you accomplish your planning goals with as little burden as possible on your heirs. This involves a Last Will and Testament, a health care proxy, a living will, and a power of attorney. These documents help you ensure that your assets pass in accordance with your wishes, and that the right people are designated to make decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so, both during your lifetime and at your death. When you’re ready for the next step in planning, a living trust – either revocable or irrevocable – may be appropriate. Estate planning documents are not just forms. They are important legal documents that only a lawyer with knowledge and experience can help you understand what they mean and how they will operate.
Consulting an estate planning attorney can help you maximize estate tax savings strategies. There have been many changes in both federal and state estate tax laws in recent years. We stay abreast of the many rapid developments in the estate planning and elder law areas so that we can provide our clients with the most up-to-date information.
A common question we hear is “what is a trust?” There are many types of trusts. The first distinction is between “testamentary trusts” – those created by a Last Will and Testament – and “living trusts” or “inter vivos trusts”. Testamentary trusts are by definition irrevocable; they are created at the death of the testator and created by the court. Living trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable.
Arden Besunder P.C. can help clients with a range of trust options, from revocable trusts to more complex irrevocable trust structures such as Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (“ILIT”), Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (“GRAT”), charitable trusts (CRUT or CRAT), and special needs trusts. Whether you have $200,000 or $20 million, many clients prioritize the transfer of their hard-earned assets to future generations of family members. Achieving this goal can involve minimizing the effect of transfer and estate taxes, or ensuring that marriage, divorce, and creditors do not dissipate assets. Trusts can help protect assets as well as ensure their orderly and efficient disposition to your intended beneficiaries, thus minimizing legal and court fees. We can help you determine if a trust is right for you, and help you find the right type of trust to meet your objective
After a death, there is uncertainty of what to do next. Many people think – courtesy of Hollywood – that the first step is a “reading of the Will.” There is no requirement to “read the Will” after a person dies. (In fact, the “publication” requirement of a Will takes place when the Testator signs it and declares it to be his or her Will!). The first step should be to call a lawyer who can help guide you through the process each step of the way.
Our role in the estate and trust administration area is simple: We help surviving family members, executors, and trustees efficiently manage the disposition of assets in estates and trusts.