WILLS & ESTATE PLANNING
Every year, assets that have been gathered over an individual’s lifetime are distributed in ways their owner never intended or desired. Preventable misunderstandings and disputes often arise among family members, who may pay thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees and taxes.
The reason? People fail to meet with an experienced lawyer to both perform and document appropriate estate planning.
Every adult should arrange for a Will to be prepared that reflects his or her individual circumstances and goals. Wills enable estate owners to:
- appoint an executor
- appoint a guardian for minor children
- outline the manner in which assets are to be distributed
- give to charity
- accomplish tax planning objectives
- accomplish the client’s goals and deal with any complicating factors such as family and tax issues
Due to the pace at which our lives and the law change, your Will, once prepared, should be reviewed on a regular basis.
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY AND PERSONAL DIRECTIVE
Planning for incapacity, whether as a result of accident or sickness, is an important aspect of estate planning. Should you become incapacitated, an Enduring Power of Attorney provides ongoing financial maintenance and care for both yourself and your loved ones, while a Personal Directive makes your wishes clear in non-financial matters.
If you don’t have these critical estate planning tools prepared prior to incapacity, your affairs might be governed and monitored by the courts. This impersonal and expensive course of action is unlikely to meet your wishes or needs.
If clients agree, Brownlee lawyers can arrange a meeting with their families either during or after the estate planning process to:
- go through the estate plan while parents are still alive
- explain the process followed to create the plan
- explain the distribution of assets
By preventing surprises, the estate owner can enjoy peace of mind today knowing that potential disputes will not happen tomorrow.
Once the estate owner dies, Brownlee lawyers will assist the executor of your will to complete the administration of your estate as quickly as possible. We ensure beneficiaries receive the assets they are entitled to with a minimum of delay to better facilitate a process that achieves a sense of closure for all parties.
JOHN C. MCDONNELL
partner, corporate/commercial practice area leader