Wills, Trust, and Estate Planning
As the saying goes, the only things you can be sure of are death and taxes. As unfortunate as this truism may be, each of us is faced with planning for death and trying to minimize estate taxation. At Cohne Kinghorn P.C., we strive to help people plan their estates to maximize the legacy they can pass to their children and loved ones. Wills, trusts and after-death probate planning are all means by which estates can be planned and managed to avoid taxes and ensure disposition of assets according to the client’s wishes.
The foundation of every estate plan is the will. A will can be simple or complex depending upon the size of the estate and the complexity of the family relationships involved. At Cohne Kinghorn P.C., each “will” actually includes several documents, each designed to meet a specific goal:
- The Will: The actual Last Will and Testament of the client is a stand alone document which provides for the distribution of personal property, both real and personal, in a manner which carries out the intent of the decedent. The Will will also appoint personal representatives for probate, trustees for trusts and guardians for minor children.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This document grants to a third person the authority to administer the assets of a person who, because of either physical or mental illness, can no longer administer his or her own assets.
- Special Medical Power of Attorney: This documents provides for the care of a person during a medical crises when the individual is unable to make medical care decisions on their own. This power does not deal with financial matters, only with heath care matters.
- Living Will: A Living Will instructs physicians whether the client wants heroic life support measures to artificially prolong life when the client has reached a state of terminal illness with no probability of recovery.
Each of these documents can be specifically tailored to meet the client’s needs and concerns. The will can also be crafted to address estate tax issues to minimize the government’s share.
Cohne Kinghorn P.C. can also assist clients by developing trusts. There are numerous types of trust, each of which address a specific need. These include revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts and charitable remainder trusts, just to name a few.
Finally, many individuals believe that once they have created a will or estate plan, there is no need to revisit it. However, as the person’s assets grow, personal relationships change or heath issues become more prominent, the will must be altered. A will over 5 years old is generally out of date and should be reviewed or revised.