You have worked hard to build a secure future for your family. But what happens to that future when you are no longer here to protect it? Even if you do not have a large estate, it is important that you put your wishes into writing. A clear, concise, legally sound will or trust helps preserve your legacy and ensure that your family is taken care of in the manner you prefer.
At Alexandria, Virginia’s Richard A. Dezio, P.C., we help you prepare for an uncertain future. We attend to all legal matters pertaining to your estate, including the following:
- Creating a will or trust
- Creating living wills
- Powers of attorney
- Will administration
- Trust administration
Wills in Virginia
A will ensures that your debts are settled and your property and finances are distributed according to your wishes. Most importantly, if you have minor children, a will provides for the appointment of guardians.
When you create a will, you name an executor to oversee the dispersal of assets. The executor has many responsibilities, such as the following:
- Filing the will in the local probate court
- Managing your assets until they are distributed to beneficiaries
- Supervising the distribution of your property
A properly prepared will may reduce estate expenses and limit any discord between beneficiaries by clearly stating how, when, and to whom your estate will be distributed.
While a will deals with the immediate distribution of your property and assets following your death, a living trust allows you to avoid probate, provide for management of your affairs during incapacitation, and plan for the long-term allocation of your estate.
Our experienced estate law attorneys can help you determine if a living trust fits your needs. We can also draft the legal documents creating the trust and help you identify and appoint a trustee or administrator of the trust.
A living will—or advance medical directive (AMD)—enables you to make decisions regarding your health and welfare even when you are incapacitated. Working with an experienced lawyer to create a living will or AMD helps ensure that your document will be legally sound and that your wishes will be followed in the event of a medical situation.
Durable general power of attorney
Who will manage your financial affairs if you are incapacitated? A durable general power of attorney lets you prepare for this possibility while you are in full control of your faculties. Appointing this individual before he or she is needed ensures that your finances will be controlled by someone you trust, and gives you time to provide instruction regarding how to use this authority.
Start protecting your tomorrow today
The future is always closer than it seems. That is why planning for it is crucial. The skilled attorneys at Richard A. Dezio, P.C. can assist you in estate planning, administration, and litigation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal agreement through which one entity, a trustee, holds the legal authority to property for another person, a beneficiary. The instructions that control the actions of the trustee are detailed in the trust agreement. You assign your heirs in the trust document. Depending on your circumstances, you can include a stipulation that enables you to amend or revoke the trust at your will.
What are some advantages of having a trust?
The best-known advantage of having a trust is avoiding probate. In a trust that terminates with the death of the donor, any property in the trust prior to the death of the creator of the trust can pass immediately to the beneficiaries by the terms of the trust without requiring probate. This can save time and money for the beneficiaries, as well as eliminate unnecessary stress and squabbling.
Certain trusts can also result in tax advantages both for the donor and the beneficiary. Other trusts may be used to protect property from creditors or to help the donor qualify for Medicaid. Provided they are well-drafted, another advantage of trusts is the fact that they have a continuing effectiveness even if the donor dies or becomes incapacitated.
There are many kinds of trusts, but the most common is one you would set up for your minor children or incapacitated adult relatives for their care after you are gone and until they are old enough or well enough to take care of themselves.
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which the property of a deceased person, known as the estate is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will). The entire process is supervised by the probate court and it can be lengthy.
How to Evaluate an Estate Planning Lawyer
Some things to look for when you are seeking estate planning law firms include the following:
Familiarity with estate planning: Contact several estate planning law firms in Alexandria and ask about the focus of their practice. Also inquire about how long they have been practicing as Alexandria estate planning lawyers.
Trial experience in estate planning matters: The estate planning lawyers in Alexandria that you hire should have years of experience and proven results in litigation involving disputes such as will or trust contests.
Background: Ask if the estate planning law firm in Alexandria that you are considering is involved in the legal community and find out about education, legal background, honors, and professional rating. Visit the website of each Alexandria estate planning lawyer to view honors, background, and statements from former clients.
Some other things you can do are to ask for referrals from other people who have used an estate planning lawyer in Alexandria. When you interview a firm ask how accessible your Alexandria estate planning attorney is going to be to you and if you can expect to deal with support staff or the attorney directly.