Charlottesville Estate Planning Attorney
Prepare for the Future the Right Way
According to CNBC, only 1 in 5 Americans have an estate plan. This is a tragedy—but an easily avoidable one. Estate planning allows a person to carefully review their assets and decide who should receive them after they die. But a proper estate plan does much more. It also prepares for certain contingencies, such as a loss of capacity.
If you need an estate plan, or if you would like to update an old one, please contact MichieHamlett today. Our Charlottesville estate planning attorneys will listen to you explain your goals and use our legal experience to create a plan that works for you.
Elements of an Estate Plan
An adequate estate plan should consist of the following:
- Full review of all assets. Many people have assets that will not pass through probate, such as a home held in joint tenancy or payable on death (POD) accounts. Before you can create an estate plan, you need to fully understand what you own.
- Will. A will often serves as the cornerstone of an estate plan. You can name beneficiaries to receive assets and appoint guardians for minor children.
- Trusts. One or more trusts can complement a will and help with long-term care planning or reducing tax liability.
- Advance directives. With a health care proxy, you can identify a person to make medical decisions when you become incapacitated. You can also draft a living will that outlines the treatment you want or wish to avoid.
There may be other pieces of a comprehensive estate plan, depending on your situation. Contact a Charlottesville estate planning lawyer to review.
Benefits of Estate Planning
Without an estate plan, your assets will pass according to Virginia’s intestacy laws. This means family members could receive property you don’t want them to have. Friends and distant relatives will also receive nothing.
Estate planning can also:
- Prepare for business succession
- Reduce tax liability
- Help you or a loved one qualify for government benefits
- Reduce the cost of probate
- Provide immediate funds for your loved ones when you die
The greatest benefit of all—peace of mind. No one wants to think about death, but proper planning now can reduce stress as you age.
Updating an Estate Plan
Life never stands still. And an estate plan that worked for you 10 years ago might be outdated. We recommend updating an estate plan whenever you marry or divorce or if you have a new child. Other people should update their estate plan when they obtain significant assets.
We also advise recent transplants to our state to consider updating their estate plan. A will or trust drafted in a different state might be ineffective in Virginia.
Speak with a Charlottesville Estate Planning Lawyer Today
No estate planning solution works for everyone. At MichieHamlett, we avoid “cookie cutter” estate planning approaches. Instead, we listen to you explain your goals and create the necessary legal documents and strategies to achieve them.
Let us help. We offer a free consultation to those who call or send us an online message.