02. Estate Planning
Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney
Estate Planning is easily the most important legal planning that every individual should have in place. This is particularly true if you have children under the age of 18. A good Will or Trust will provide for, at a minimum, the following:
- Guardianship for your children in the event of your death;
- Someone to manage any assets that you give to a minor child;
- Who will ultimately receive your assets;
- Who will be in charge of paying your final debts and distributing your property to your heirs or beneficiaries.
Making sure to have these provisions in place protects your family or beneficiaries from unnecessary squabbles or even litigation after you are gone.
While a good Will or Trust is essential, the two standard Powers of Attorney - financial and health care - are just as important. These documents come into effect in the event you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. The Power of Attorney for Property (finances) authorizes the person of your choice to continue to handle your finances for you when you cannot. The Power of Attorney for Health Care appoints an agent to make very important health care decisions for you if you are sick and incapacitated. It is also gives your agent very basic direction regarding your wishes for end-of-life care. Without such direction, your family can be left trying to make these agonizing decisions on their own, without the benefit of knowing your wishes.
Probate and Estate Administration
When a loved-one has passed away, it can seem like handling their affairs is a confusing, overwhelming process that will never end. There are bills to be paid, insurance policies to be submitted, and assets to be collected and distributed. Not to mention dealing with beneficiaries and heirs with conflicting interests.
Berger Law Firm, LLC has helped hundreds of families and friends of the departed settle their final affairs efficiently and with care. In many instances, probate can be avoided entirely through the Small Estate Administration process. Estates that have less than $100,000.00 in personal assets, and one or two pieces of real estate, may qualify for a simplified administration process. Even if probate becomes necessary, it does not always mean that it will be a long, difficult process, as you often hear. Our Attorneys strive to stream-line the process as much as possible, while ensuring your loved-one's last wishes are honored.
Whether you will need to go through the probate process, or can administer the Estate outside of probate, hiring competent and compassionate counsel can take at least a portion of this weight off of your shoulders.
20 Years of Accumulated Practice
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Consultations with our office are generally between 1/2 hour to an hour. You will meet with an Attorney to discuss the basic facts of your case, and to get an idea of the direction we would take your matter. The cost of a consultation is $100, but that amount is credited towards future services with the Firm if you choose to hire us.