Estate Planning & Elder Law
Attorney Sherri C. Frame
Elder Law - With the baby-boom generation advancing in age, seniors and their families increasingly encounter legal and practical concerns surrounding the care and support of elderly loved ones. An experienced elder law attorney can prepare legal documents to allow seniors to predetermine medical and financial decisions during a period of incapacity and avoid the need to file for a court appointed guardian and conservator, and provide for long-term medical care or nursing home residency through various funding sources. Additionally, an experienced elder law attorney can provide much-needed legal and emotional support to family members suddenly faced with the mounting pressure of caring for an elder loved one. Finally, if necessary, and when all other less restrictive means have been exhausted, an attorney experienced in elder law matters can assist clients in establishing guardianships and conservatorships to provide the day-to-day assistance an elder needs to manage his or her financial and personal matters.
Trust Administration & Probate Administration. Administration of a decedent's Trust often, among other things, requires the appointment of a successor trustee, a new certificate of trust existence, notifying creditors to cut off claims, and assistance with collecting and distribution of assets. Administration of a decedent's estate involves, among many other things, probating the estate, collection of the decedent's assets, calculation and payment of estate taxes (if applicable), and the distribution of remaining assets. An attorney who is competent and experienced in probate and estate administration can facilitate this often difficult process in a timely and effective manner providing important guidance to your family though the administration process.
Business Planning - If you are an individual looking to start a business, it is important to have a competent business lawyer on your side to pave the way for success and prevent disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner. We help with the start-ups of sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, “S” corporations, and other entities. We are available to consult with you and prepare operating agreements, partnership agreements, etc. or review existing agreements. Finally, we are also available to handle real estate transactions.
Estate Planning allows you to provide direction about the disposition of your assets now & after death. A well-drafted estate plan is important for many reasons. Estate planning can include wills, trusts, medical and financial powers of attorney, beneficiary deeds, trusts and various other documents. All estate plans should include, at minimum, three important estate planning instruments: a financial durable power of attorney, medical durable power of attorney, and a Will. An individual can appoint an agent in a general durable power of attorney to manage the person's financial affairs, and avoid the need for a court conservatorship proceeding should the person become incapacitated. Through the use of a medical durable power of document, an individual may appoint a patient advocate to act should the person become incapacitated and unable to express his or her preferences relating to health care decisions. A Last Will and Testament provides an individual with a means or directing the disposition of the individual's assets upon his or her death, but it does not avoid Probate.
Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes. These include, among others, management of assets for a minor child or a child with a disability upon the death or disability of a parent, lifetime management of assets of the grantor (creator) if he or she becomes disabled, and avoidance of probate upon death of the grantor. A revocable living trust also provides privacy, flexibility, and the ability to tailor the trust to meet a variety of different distribution plans. It also allows for planning to meet the often unique distribution needs of blended families with children and, sometimes grandchildren, from prior marriages. Third party discretionary trusts soley for the benefit of an individual with a disability, can, when carefully prepared and administered be a wonderful tool which will allow an individual to maintain public benefits while enjoying some benefits from the Trust.
Estate plans are not just for wealthy people. Whether your family is well-to-do or has modest means, an estate plan is important and can provide you with peace of mind. A good plan can avoid or minimize conflict, help maintain relationships, and keep families out of court.