At first glance, planning your estate can seem like an overwhelming experience. There are lots of things to consider, including providing for your loved ones after you pass away.
The attorneys at MMC can assist individuals with both end-of-life planning and estate planning after you pass away. We understand that everyone’s estates are different; therefore, we take a personalized approach to each client and their needs with a goal towards minimizing future expenses, reducing tax liability, and maximizing the protection of assets. Here are some of the services we can provide:
Drafting and Administration of Wills and Trusts
The attorneys at MMC can assist their clients with passing their assets to their loved ones by either administering estates or drafting estate documents. Both wills and trusts accomplish the purpose of passing assets to others, but there are some key differences between the two. First, a will goes into effect only when the testator (one who desires to transfer the assets) dies and the will is submitted to the probate court. A trust goes into effect as soon as its drafted and signed. When a will gets probated, it becomes public record as opposed to a trust, which may be administered privately. Please reach out to the attorneys at MMC to see which type of estate planning instrument works best for you.
The attorneys at MMC can also assist with the administration of both probate estates (for wills) and trust estates (for trusts). This is done with a team-based approach in which we work with the personal representative or trustee and an accountant.
Drafting and Administration of Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
It is best for one to be prepared in the event of an unfortunate occurrence. Two common ways to prepare for these events are to have a living will and a power of attorney.
A living will (also called an advance healthcare directive) is often the first document that a hospital requests in the event you are admitted for care and are unable to make decisions on your own. This document allows you to direct the course of your treatment if you have a terminal illness or are in a vegetative state. Further, in this document, you can nominate an agent to make decisions on your behalf.
A power of attorney is a document where an individual can nominate another person (the agent) to make decisions on the individual’s behalf in the event that the individual is unable to do so. We can make this document as broad as the client wants, or narrow to cover specific issues.
One key item to consider is tax planning. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress passed a measure that allows federal estate tax exemptions for $11.2 million for each individual and $22.4 million for married couples (these balances are adjusted for inflation). These exemptions are set to expire in 2025 if not extended by Congress. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals still do some estate tax planning in the event these exemption amounts expire.