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Estate Planning

Estate planning is not simply writing or creating a will, which is simply a directive as to who gets your probate property when you die.  Estate planning is about planning for both the event of death and the event of incapacity, and in doing so, our goal is your peace of mind knowing you, your family and your assets will be taken care of and smoothly managed and transitioned, in either event, whether expected or not.

To plan for the event of death, we first seek to understand each client’s unique circumstances, family, family dynamics, assets, intentions and goals.  From there, we will help you understand your options between a Will or a Trust and decide what plan is the best for you, your family and your beneficiaries.  We also always take into account tax issues, whether current or future, and we build your plan to fit your needs and your wishes accordingly.

Once we have a full understanding of your situation, and once you have a full understanding of your options and have chosen a path, we will then draft your documents to custom fit your needs and wishes.

Finally, we will help you execute any changes to your assets, titles, and accounts, if any, to ensure the best results.

In planning for the event of incapacity, we will discuss your wishes for preserving and managing assets through a Financial Power of Attorney in the event you can no longer able to manage your own assets.  We will also discuss your wishes medical decision making under a Medical Power of Attorney, including who you want to manage and make decisions for you and what decisions s/he can make.  And, most importantly, we will discuss in detail your wishes and directives for removal of life support in a Living Will (also knowns as an “Advance Directive” or “End of Life Directive”) in the event you are ever in a Terminal Condition or Persistent Vegetative State.

Our lawyers will help you with the following (among many other things):

  • Deciding between a Will or a Trust
  • Avoiding probate
  • Planning for minor children’s care (i.e. Guardianship)
  • Making end of life decisions through a Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney
  • Distributing and/or managing assets upon death
  • Asset protection
  • Special needs children and beneficiaries
  • Pet/animal needs and protection
  • HIPAA protection, compliance and access

Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney?

Estate planning involves complex legal terms, documents and preparation, intertwined through a comprehensive legal strategy to achieve the legal outcome you want when it comes to you, your family and your assets in the event of your incapacity or death.  Among other document, here are some of the most common documents used in Estate Planning:

  • Trusts – Primarily used for easily transferring, protecting and managing assets; May include Testamentary Trust, Revocable Living Trust, Special Needs Trust and/or Pet Trust
  • Wills – Primarily used for directing who gets probate property upon a person’s passing, but is also the document used for directing Guardians/Conservators for minor children
  • Durable Financial Powers of Attorney – Primarily used for directing the management of a persons assets in the event of incapacity
  • Durable Medical Power of Attorney – Primarily used for directing the management of a person and decisions regarding his/her medical treatment and care
  • Living Will – Also called “Advanced Directive” or “End of Live Directive, this document is primarily used for directing the removal of life support in the event a person is in a Terminal Condition or Persistent Vegetative State

Our estate planning attorneys are well educated and well versed in all of these documents, terms, definitions, uses, purposes and limitations.  When you hire an estate planning attorney at The Law Office of Kevin R. Hancock, LLC, we will help you understand your options and draft your documents according to your needs and wishes.  The most common problems with setting up these documents without an estate planning attorney involved are errors in the documents, incomplete documents, inappropriate documents,  and incorrectly signed or otherwise ineffective documents, all of which can lead to disputes and/or otherwise unnecessary legal proceedings in the event of death or incapacity.  Disputes and unnecessary legal proceedings result in stress, expenses and lost time.  And, in either case, whether a dispute or simply your family having to go to Court unnecessarily, the only “winners” in such situations are the attorneys involved.  So, it is always worthwhile to get an estate planning attorney to help you on the front end to avoid, as much as possible, disputes and unnecessary legal proceedings.

Diversity Estate Planning

At The Law Office of Kevin R. Hancock, LLC, we offer assistance in Estate Planning for all family types, including traditional families, non-traditional families, blended families, domestic partnerships, and same-sex couples (married or unmarried). Everyone needs an estate plan, and we are here to help no matter whatever your situation.

Digital Assets

In this modern day and age, estate planning consists of planning for traditional assets (i.e. real estate, personal property, retirement accounts, life insurance, etc.), as well as digital assets.  What are digital assets?  Think of digital assets as any kind of document you have on a computer, tablet or phone, pictures, videos, email accounts, and online accounts.  In planning for your digital assets, our estate planning attorneys are well versed in what digital assets are, how to access them, and we will advise you on how to plan for and incorporate your digital assets into your Estate Plan.