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Estate Planning Center

Estate Planning Center

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We so often hear that hard work is the path to achieving the American dream. But retaining as much of our earnings as possible for our families can be a challenge. An estate planning attorney can work with you to assure that your hard work results in the accumulation of assets that are protected from liabilities. Asset protection planning can help you to ensure that gift and estate tax liabilities are minimized for your family after you have gone.

Like it or not each day of our lives we get older. If you need extended nursing home care, you will want to ensure that the assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating will not suddenly disappear. Your home and other assets will need to be protected for your surviving family members. The court will appoint a stranger to act as your conservator or guardian in the event you have not previously chosen one. These are issues over which you have control, and consulting with an estate planning attorney will allow you to plan for your future.

Each year people die who have not prepared a will. When this occurs, the law dictates how an individual's property is distributed, and a court may pick the guardian of your children. Dying without an estate plan can also increase the likelihood that your surviving loved ones will not be cared for. Too many people put off addressing these important issues. Don't let it happen to you.

In many cases in which a person becomes incapacitated, courts appoint outsiders to make decisions regarding the incapacitated person's financial affairs and health matters. The way to ensure that a person of your choosing who knows your wishes and will act on your behalf is to execute a power of attorney to designate an agent or attorney-in-fact.

Clients come to us for estate planning services and leave with peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning

Q: What is a will?

A: A will is a written legal document with instructions for distributing an individual's assets after his or her death. A will must be formally executed as required by state law to be legally valid and enforceable.

Q: How can a person change his or her will?

A: A will is typically valid and effective until it is revoked, destroyed, or invalidated by writing a new will. Alterations to an existing will, such as crossing out language or adding a new provision, do not usually meet the legal requirements for executing a valid will and do not affect the terms of an existing will; however, changes or additions to an existing will can be made by codicil. A codicil is a document executed in compliance with applicable state law that modifies an existing will or codicil.

The estate planning and administration attorneys of Seiller Waterman LLC, in Louisville, Kentucky, represent individuals and families in all issues related to asset protection and the transfer of wealth.

To learn more about estate planning, please review the information below and visit our Estate Planning and Wealth Management page. To speak to an experienced attorney about your estate planning needs, contact our law office at your earliest convenience.

Estate Planning - An Overview

Our estate planning lawyers will help you preserve the assets you have worked so hard to accumulate.

Estate planning allows an individual to plan for his or her lifetime objectives and to provide direction about the disposition of his or her assets after death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts as well as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Estate planning is impacted by state and federal law, and any individual may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for his or her situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs), and limited liability companies (LLCs). An estate planning lawyer from Seiller Waterman LLC in Louisville, Kentucky, can be an essential ally in assuring that your estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call Seiller Waterman LLC today to schedule a consultation.

Estate Planning Basic Documents

Because estate planning allows an individual to ensure that his or her property will go to the people he or she wants, in the way he or she wants, and when he or she wants, it is important for everyone, even if an estate is likely to be small, to have an estate plan. An estate plan can help to reduce tax liabilities, court costs, and attorneys' fees, and it can also make it easier for families to cope with the administrative and financial issues that arise after the loss of family members.

Estate plans should typically include at least two important estate planning instruments: a durable power of attorney and a will. A durable power of attorney is a document that authorizes a person to make decisions for a person who has become incapacitated, including decisions about the incapacitated person's property. A will is a document that sets out the plan to distribute a person�s property after her or his death.

Documents relating to medical care can also be part of an estate plan. Documents to consider include a medical directive (also called an advance directive, a physician's directive, a written directive, or a durable power of attorney for healthcare) to designate a person to make healthcare decisions for a person who has become incapacitated, a healthcare proxy (also called a proxy directive) to designate a person to make healthcare decisions regardless of a person's incapacity, and a living will to express a person's desire regarding the use of extraordinary measures to extend her or his life when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.

Estate Planning and Financial Goals

Estate planning can help to identify and plan for financial needs during life and after death. Financial needs to consider include retirement income, college funding, replacement income following an unforeseen illness or disability, and the needs of surviving family members. To meet these financial goals and to ensure appropriate utilization of assets during life and orderly and efficient distribution of assets after death, an estate plan may include making gifts to individuals and charities during life, purchasing life insurance, using revocable and irrevocable trusts, purchasing annuities, and rearranging personal and business interests. In addition to federal gift and estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, which vary from state to state, must also be considered to meet financial objectives.

Conclusion

Asset protection strategies, healthcare directives, powers of attorney, and other estate planning devices are an integral part of the services that an estate planning attorney can provide. If you have questions about estate planning, contact an estate planning attorney at Seiller Waterman LLC in Louisville, Kentucky, to schedule a consultation.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Seiller Waterman LLC
462 S. Fourth Street, 22nd Floor
Louisville, KY 40202

Phone: 502-584-7400
Fax: 502-583-2100
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