Fairfax Estate Planning Attorney

An estate plan is something that every adult should have but that most people put off for one reason or another. Many individuals believe that only people with a lot of money or assets need an estate plan, but that’s far from the truth.

Your estate planning documents can make essential decisions about guardianship for your minor children, medical treatment in the event of incapacity, and your end-of-life wishes.

We recommend that anyone over the age of 18 have an estate plan in place, and working with an experienced attorney is the best way to build a plan that meets your needs and goals.

At Select Law Partners, we provide estate planning services to Virginia and North Carolina residents. We develop comprehensive estate plans to meet your current needs and fulfill your future intentions.

Call us at (855) 541-4867 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

Estate Planning Attorney in Fairfax, VA

 

We Provide a Wide Range of Estate Planning Services to Fit Your Needs

Our estate planning attorneys in Fairfax, VA provide individuals and families with a variety of estate planning services. Here are a few estate planning tools that may be right for you:

Wills

When most people think of an estate plan, they think of a last will and testament. Your last will and testament will go into effect when you die. It outlines how you want your assets distributed after death and designates an individual called an executor to handle your estate. You can also use your will to select a guardian for your minor children.

However, a will does not cover everything. Because of this, it should not be the only part of your estate plan. For example, a will does not include incapacity provisions. You will not be able to select someone to make health care, legal, or financial decisions for you in the event of incapacity.

In addition, a will is a public document that must go through probate. Probate is a lengthy and costly process of administering a decedent’s estate. It includes validating the will, paying off debts to creditors, and distributing assets to the listed beneficiaries.

If you want to keep your family out of probate and maintain privacy, a revocable living trust may be better for you.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool often superior to a will. Unlike a will, which goes into effect at death, a trust goes into effect immediately and provides you with control of the distribution of assets during your life and after your death. It allows you to elect a trustee who manages your estate.

Additionally, you can alter it or terminate it at any time.

There are many benefits to a revocable living trust. One advantage is that a trust avoids probate. There is no court oversight, and a trust provides immediate access to your funds to handle your final arrangements and provide financial support to your beneficiaries.

Another benefit of a trust is privacy because it’s not a public document.

Plus, you can add incapacity provisions to your living trust. You can leave instructions to your loved ones about legal, financial, and medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself.

Though a revocable living trust seems like it offers a complete package, it does not allow you to appoint a guardian to your minor children. It also may not be the best tool for asset protection.

Other Types of Trusts

A revocable living trust is just one type of trust that you can add to your estate plan. There are many other types of trusts that may fit your needs. A few examples of different types of trusts include but are not limited to:

  • Irrevocable living trusts. An irrevocable living trust cannot be altered or terminated. Essentially, you surrender ownership of any assets you put into the trust. However, it allows for greater asset protection and reduced estate taxes.
  • Charitable trusts. There are a couple of different types of charitable trusts. A charitable lead trust typically provides income to a charity of your choice for a period of time.. Then, once that period is up, the rest of the income goes to your loved ones. A charitable remainder trust provides your loved ones with income for a period of time. Then, once the period is up, the rest goes to a charity of your choice.
  • Special needs trusts. A special needs trust allows you to provide assets to a loved one with special needs without disqualifying them from receiving governmental benefits due to an income threshold.

An estate planning attorney in Fairfax, VA from our firm can help you determine which types of trusts are best for your goals and build you a comprehensive estate plan.

Advance Medical Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney

What will happen if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions about your health care? An advance medical directive instructs your loved ones and physicians about your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life decisions if you cannot make them due to incapacity.

Using a health care power of attorney, you elect someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf using your guidelines.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney appoints someone you trust to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. You should give power of attorney to someone you completely trust. You can decide when to give power of attorney to another person, such as if you cannot make your own decisions due to disability or incapacity.

Additionally, you leave guidelines for your power of attorney to follow. A power of attorney can make important decisions, including but not limited to decisions about:

  • Day-to-day financial affairs
  • Paying monthly bills
  • Buying and selling assets
  • Investing your money

Estate Plans Make Your Life Easier and Your Legacy Greater

If you die without a will or any other estate planning documents, you die “intestate.” In both North Carolina and Virginia, dying “intestate” means that you have no control over your estate.

You will have no control over who will receive your assets, who will handle your estate, or who will raise your children. Your assets will pass through the intestacy laws of your resident state rather than according to your wishes.

You can learn more about Virginia’s intestate laws here and North Carolina’s intestate laws here.

Our Fairfax estate planning lawyers know that talking about death, illness, and money are uncomfortable subjects for many people. It’s normal not to want to think about it or talk about these topics.

We urge you not to let a few moments of feeling uncomfortable keep you from protecting your loved ones and your legacy. An estate plan allows you to accomplish your goals and carry out your wishes after death or incapacity. You can address many different decisions through an estate plan.

Beneficiaries

An estate plan allows you to protect and provide for loved ones after you’re gone. You can distribute your assets how you want. Without an estate plan, your state of residence will control the distribution of your estate. State law will dictate your estate’s beneficiaries, not you.

If you are a parent of minor children, who will take care of your children if you pass? An estate plan allows you to designate guardianship, so the state does not. You can even set up guardianship for your pets.

Having an estate plan can also take the stress off your loved ones after your passing. Losing a loved one is devastating, overwhelming, and stressful. Laying out your wishes and intentions keeps your family from having to make difficult decisions that may cause grievances or rifts in the family.

Health Care

Within an estate plan are tools like advance medical directives and health care powers of attorney. These tools allow you to set guidelines for your physicians and loved ones in how you wish to be treated and other important health care decisions.

Advance medical directives and health care powers of attorney help you answer important questions:

  • Who will make health care decisions on my behalf if I’m incapacitated?
  • Which medical treatments am I comfortable and uncomfortable with?
  • Do I want to be resuscitated?

Disability or Incapacity

Even when incapacitated, you’ll still have everyday affairs that someone will need to handle. Incapacity planning focuses on what happens if you can no longer manage your financial affairs or make your own health care decisions while you are living.

Disability and incapacity plans answer questions like:

  • Who will manage your day-to-day finances and monthly bills?
  • If you’re disabled, will you live in a nursing home, or do you want in-home care?
  • How will you pay for nursing home or in-home care?

Property

A comprehensive estate plan can help you protect your property and divide and distribute it as you wish. Specific estate planning tools can protect your assets from creditors and even save your family money in estate taxes.

Additionally, you can select a trustee to manage the distribution of property. A few questions you may ask yourself to start shaping your estate plan include:

  • How do I want to divide my property after my death?
  • Should certain assets be transferred to certain loved ones?
  • Who will distribute my property after my death?

Why is it important to have an estate planning lawyer?

Estate planning is complex. One mistake in your documents can invalidate your estate plan, resulting in significant consequences for your loved ones after your passing. In those cases, an already difficult situation can quickly become unbearable.

Also, you cannot tailor a do-it-yourself will or trust template to fit the unique circumstances of your life. There are many do-it-yourself estate plans out there, but we highly recommend that you get the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

An estate planning attorney from Select Law Partners, PLLC can create a custom estate plan to fit your intentions and needs. We can guide you on the best ways to avoid probate and alleviate tax burdens.

Meet Our Estate Planning Attorneys

Sara S. Josey

Sara dedicates her practice to helping families design comprehensive estate plans to prepare for their future, care for their loved ones, and solidify their legacy. She represents clients throughout Virginia and North Carolina. You can read Sara’s complete attorney profile here.

Mary Capra

Mary is an estate planning attorney dedicated to helping her clients protect their legacies. Before working with Select Law Partners, Mary clerked for a Circuit Court and worked one-on-one with judges. Read Mary’s complete attorney profile here.

Protect Your Legacy With the Help of Our Estate Planning Attorneys

Are you ready to learn more about estate planning or set up an estate plan to protect your loved ones and assets? Reach out to an estate planning attorney from Select Law Partners, PLLC.

We’re happy to answer your questions and discuss your estate planning goals during a consultation. We look forward to helping you develop an estate plan that meets your current needs, goals, and future intentions.