Whether you have a small estate and need only a simple will, a large estate and need sophisticated tax planning, an estate of any size with special issues that need a unique plan, Rinke Noonan’s estate planning attorneys will assist you in developing a plan which meets your needs.
Our first and primary job is to listen to you and understand your goals, and then to design and implement an effective and efficient plan that accomplishes those goals. We assist clients with preparing wills and trusts, with minimizing estate taxes at death, and planning for the smooth transfer of business ownership upon an owner’s death. Our attorneys handle probates and guardianships with confidence and experience.
The goal of estate planning is to plan for smooth handling of the client’s financial affairs during their lifetime and for the orderly passing at death of the client’s estate to their heirs.
Estate Planning Key Concepts
A Will is a tool that guides your estate through the probate process after your death. Your Will names a guardian for your minor children (if any), the personal representative of your estate, the trustee of any trust created by your Will, the individuals to whom your assets will be distributed, and the terms of any trust or other special provisions that you wish to make.
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is created by a document that contains many of the provisions that are in a Will, but may make the Will unnecessary. The Revocable Trust is a separate legal entity you create to hold some or all of your assets. Any assets held by the trust avoid probate at your death. A Revocable Trust can also be used to manage your assets in the event of your incapacity. The Trust remains under your control and can generally be changed or amended by you at any time until your death.
An Irrevocable Trust is generally set up for estate tax planning purposes. You cannot change or terminate the trust after it is created. Generally, any assets placed in the trust cannot be retrieved by the creator of the trust and, thus, the assets are not included in the creator’s taxable estate at death.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document that gives another individual the power to handle your financial transactions during your lifetime and may be particularly useful if you become incapacitated.
A Living Will or Heath Care Power of Attorney allows you to express your wishes about your health care and/or name an individual to make your health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Estate Tax Planning
The goal of estate tax planning is to avoid or minimize estate taxes at your death. Estate tax planning can involve using a trust or other forms of ownership, such as family limited partnerships. Lifetime gifts may be appropriate for tax planning or other reasons.
Estate planning may also include consideration of beneficiary designations and /or distribution options on retirement plans, life insurance and other accounts, as well as reviewing how assets are or should be titled (e.g., individually, joint tenants in common, life estate). Planning for payment of nursing home costs and qualifying for medicaid/medical assistance are complex issues on which we can also advise you.