Revocable Living Trusts
There are numerous kinds of trusts, but the most useful to ensure a solid estate plan is, by far, the revocable living trust. Think of a trust as a bucket or basket which you can place your assets into, such as your real estate, bank accounts and investments. Assets held in trust will allow for their uninterrupted and continued management during your lifetime, as well as upon any incapacity, illness or death, all while avoiding Probate Court administration.
Some of my most respected colleagues are Probate Judges, but I don’t want my clients to have to go through unnecessary probate proceedings. There are 39 probate courts in RI: one for each city and town, each with its own local rules. These Courts charge filing fees and inventory taxes on all assets, except real estate. Your heirs at law must be notified of the probate court proceedings and they may NOT be your intended beneficiaries. These persons, as defined by state law, are a moving target, depending upon who are your closest blood relatives upon your death, or during any lifetime incapacity.
Elder Law & Medicaid Planning
Do not allow your assets to be consumed by the state, for the benefit of a nursing home. We have numerous techniques and legal strategies available to protect your assets from state recovery.
Last Wills and Testaments
Last Wills and Testaments will direct the disposition of your probatable assets, as well as name Guardians for your minor children or other dependents. These Wills also account for any assets that are payable to your probate estate, as a result of any wrongful death action or medical malpractice claim.
Powers of Attorney for Finances
These Powers will grant your appointed agents the ability to effectively manage all of your assets, including those held outside of your Living Trust, such as retirement accounts, as well as nominate temporary or permanent guardians for your minor children or other dependents, in case of any lifetime incapacity or illness. They will also authorize your appointed agents to speak for you regarding personal matters, such as interacting with the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration and other governmental agencies.
Health Care Powers of Attorney
Health Care Documents typically consist of Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and HIPAA Releases, which will allow your appointed agents access to your health care records and medical billings, along with the ability to carry out your health care directives, spanning from temporary emergency matters to end-of-life decisions.
Estate Tax Minimization Planning Techniques
When you die, the government (federal and state) may assess an estate tax on your assets. Some call it an inheritance tax or death tax. We have numerous ways of minimizing or eliminating these taxes, so that your loved ones can receive their rightful inheritance.
Probate & Trust Administrations
These proceedings will ensure timely and accurate distribution of your loved ones’ legacy in accordance with their desired plan of distribution.
If you own rental property or are starting a business, you may want to consider creating a small business corporation, or limited liability company, to shield your legacy from lawsuits or liabilities relating to the business.