Practice Areas

Jill is proud to offer a wide range of expertise to her clients. While it is best to Contact Jill directly about your specific needs, some of the most common areas for which she assists her clients are:

 

Basic Estate Planning

Estate planning is much more than just preparing a Will. Proper estate planning requires knowledge of federal estate and gift tax law, property rights, trust administration, generation-skipping transfer taxes, creditor laws, Medicaid and estate administration. Every person needs a proper plan, no matter what your assets are or your income level.

A proper plan helps to make sure your assets are protected from creditors and held for your intended beneficiaries.

A proper plan documents your intentions and how you want your money distributed. A basic estate plan should include the following four documents:

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Power of Attorney for Property
  • Pour-over Will
  • Living Trust

Your estate plan and your assets deserve special attention. Here are five reasons why using estate planning forms off the Internet is a bad idea:

  1. You do not know who prepared the forms-if it was an attorney with estate planning experience.
  2. You do not know if the language used in the forms is applicable in your State of residence.
  3. You do not have the ability to consult with the person who drafted the forms to ask questions and gain revisions.
  4. Generic forms are not suited to your individual facts.
  5. You might pay for forms that you do not need or that do not apply to your specific situation.

 

The Living Trust

A Living Trust is the key, and the simplest way, to avoid probate (the court process of administering an estate).

Everything in probate is a public record, and the process takes at least six months during which assets cannot be accessed. Probate is also expensive.

A Living Trust is a vehicle to manage your property during life. In this time your Living Trust uses your Social Security Number and does not file a separate tax return. Upon death, your Living Trust-without delay-continues to manage your assets. It also provides for your beneficiaries, minimizes exposure to estate taxes and maximizes wealth transfer from generation to generation. While providing for your beneficiaries, your Living Trust can also afford them protection from potential creditors.

A Living Trust that owns a bank account has increased Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) coverage. For a Living Trust, FDIC coverage depends on the eligible beneficiaries rather than on the account owner. Compare: an account owned by a Living Trust with four eligible beneficiaries is protected up to $1 million in FDIC coverage, whereas the same account owned by an individual is protected only up to the current $250,000 in coverage.

 

Gifting Programs

Tax-free gifts to educational institutions and medical providers may serve your goals. These gifts can help support your children and grandchildren. If this is one of your goals, then you will want to take advantage of these gifting programs.

 

Asset Protection

Proper estate planning necessarily includes an analysis of your exposure to estate taxes and probate administration.

In addition, there should be recommendations for appropriate asset transfers which minimize taxes and place assets out of creditor reach. Finally, the agreed-upon asset transfers must be implemented, including funding of your Living Trust and revising of beneficiary designations.

 

Advanced Estate Planning

Advanced Estate Planning can include:

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts;
  • Family Business Planning;
  • Business Succession;
  • Installment Sales to Intentionally Defective Income Only Trusts;
  • Qualified Disclaimers;
  • Charitable Trusts; and
  • Private Foundations.

 

Probate/Estate Administration

When a proper plan has not been put in place or fully implemented, it may be necessary to go through the court process of administering an estate.

 

The Bottom Line

It is important that your existing estate plan be periodically reviewed and updated. Contact Jill for a detailed plan specific to your needs.