Virginia Wills and Trusts Attorney

wills and trusts attorney virginia

Being prepared for the future is only possible if you start planning today. Working with an estate planning attorney from Select Law Partners PLLC ensures that you’ll stay in complete control of how your assets are managed and who benefits from your estate. 

Our Services

Whether you’re a new parent, a newlywed, or a grandparent, the documents that manage your assets are extremely important for your family’s financial future. Our firm offers an array of estate planning services to ensure your assets pass exactly how you intend. We’ll discuss some of the most important documents below.

Wills

Often referred to as a “Last Will and Testament,” a Will is a common document that estate planning lawyers prepare for their clients. Your Will will specify how, to whom, and in what amount your assets and personal property are distributed at your death. 

Context: What’s an estate?

Your estate consists of your assets like personal property, real property, vehicles, jewelry, cash, stocks, accounts, and other objects. Your Will can specify how, to whom, and in what amount your assets and personal property are distributed at your death. 

 

If you pass without a Will, your estate is distributed in-line with the intestacy laws of your state. Intestacy statutes dictate how and to whom your property would pass based on relevant legislation. Your wishes are not taken into account in this situation, and the state largely hijacks the process, which can lead to outcomes that you might not have desired. 

The distribution of inheritance can be a significant cause of family turmoil when a Will isn’t clear as to how property will pass. The complexity of your Will depends upon your preferences in how your estate is broken up, and will impact how effectively and efficiently the process is managed.

Simple Wills

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A Will can be as simple or as complex as you prefer; its complexity or simplicity can depend on the assets involved and how you want them managed. Simple Wills are more commonly used by clients who own their home and have a moderate investment portfolio. 

Simple estate plans generally require an attorney to draft the most common and essential documents. These often include a Virginia Will, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and Living Will, depending upon the unique facts and circumstances of your estate-planning needs.

As the value of your estate increases and your assets and investments are more diverse, and if you have a minor inheriting, a deluxe Will is a more appropriate choice.


Deluxe Wills

When you own multiple properties, have a diversified portfolio of varying assets, and would like to carefully manage how your assets are passed down, especially if there is a minor inheriting, a deluxe Will is the best option for you.

When you choose a deluxe Will, you’ll sit down with one of our experienced attorneys to carefully explore your portfolio of assets. Once we’ve effectively outlined all elements of your estate and how you would like them to be distributed upon your death, we’ll put together a complete and comprehensive Will that is consistent with your preferences. 

Advanced Medical Directives and Healthcare Powers of Attorney

wills and trusts healthcare power of attorney

Adults in Virginia have the right to prepare an Advanced Medical Directive and Healthcare Power of Attorney which outlines your wishes concerning medical care in certain situations, including if you become incapacitated.

The Advanced Medical Directive and Healthcare Power of Attorney communicate the types of medical care you would or would not consent to in the event that you are unable to express your own wishes at the time care is needed.

For example, if you are in a life-threatening accident and unable to determine whether life-sustaining technology would be used, your Advanced Medical Directive and Healthcare Power of Attorney can make this decision for you ahead of time or can allow someone to make the decision for you. 

Trusts

A trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to protect your assets and to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your passing. A trust often saves time, expenses, and additional grievances for your family because using a trust is a way to avoid probate court. As with Wills, there are different types of trusts, each with their own types of protection or advantages.

Revocable “Living” Trusts

The revocable living trust is the most common form of a trust-based estate plan. With a revocable living trust, you can direct a certain amount of your assets, or certain items of personal property, into a trust that allows for whomever you designate to enjoy the assets.

You’re in control of the amount in the trust, how it is paid out, and what terms, if any, you require for the recipient to be awarded the benefits, such as at a certain age. 

A revocable living trust is especially valuable when you’re interested in maintaining privacy, addressing tax concerns, or protecting particular members of your family. It also allows you to pass assets to your beneficiaries without the supervision and involvement of the courts through the probate process. 

Revocable living trusts allow for greater flexibility in terms of how distributions are timed. Would you like to condition the first payment of a trust on the beneficiary graduating college? If the beneficiary were to have children, do you want the benefits of the trust to pass on to their children?  These choices are yours, and with a solid trust instrument you can be rest-assured that your wishes will be protected, and legally enforceable. Additionally, certain beneficiaries may also take advantage of added creditor protection. 

Other Types of Trusts

There are a variety of other trusts available to ensure that your estate passes as you prefer. After we’ve reviewed your situation and estate, we can suggest which trusts and/or Wills are most relevant to your position. It’s common that you may have a Will that also gives your assets to a revocable trust, the “living” trust we mentioned above.

This makes the Will a “pour-over Will,” which means that upon your death, assets held in your name will be put into the revocable trust, then distributed. This may be altered during your lifetime as you prefer. 

Irrevocable Living Trusts

wills and trusts living trusts

While revocable trusts present the benefit of control over your assets during your lifetime, moving them in and out of the trust as you prefer, there are limited tax advantages. Given the substantial costs linked to taxes and revocable trusts, it’s common practice in estate-planning to establish one or more irrevocable trusts alongside your pour-over will and revocable trust. 

Irrevocable trusts cannot be modified, amended, and or cancelled once established. When an irrevocable trust is established, both you (the “settlor”) and the beneficiary will have limited access in terms of the use and enjoyment of the assets and income in the irrevocable trust. 

It’s possible to leverage your estate planning to minimize tax expenses when operating in the bounds of the present income, estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer tax regimes. The purpose of this is to preserve and increase wealth both for yourself, your descendents, and your other intended beneficiaries. 

Charitable Trusts

A charitable trust, the most common form being Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs), is a trust that establishes a gift for a charity that is distributed after the trust term. The trust term can be measured by a lifetime or a set number of years. During the trust term, you, as the settlor, will receive a stream of income from the trust assets.

Additionally, you receive an immediate charitable deduction for income tax purposes that is equal to the value of the amount the charity will likely receive at the end of the trust term. 

Special Needs Trusts

Through Virginia Code Section 64.2-779.10, a “special-needs trust” can be created that allows assets to pass into the trust for the benefit of a special needs beneficiary and the assets held therein will not be considered a resource in order to determine whether a beneficiary is eligible for government benefits.

The special-needs trust benefits a beneficiary with a disability and is managed by a fiduciary–an individual or a company chosen by you. The fiduciary has the power to distribute the funds in order to advance the purposes of the trust. 

Persons with a disability may be entitled to benefits that are granted only if the individual falls below a certain income level. If the beneficiary receives an inheritance of cash or other assets directly, the inheritance might count towards the beneficiary’s income for purposes of qualifying for these benefits.

An important benefit of using the special-needs trust is that the inheritance received by the beneficiary will not count as income for purposes of qualifying for these benefits, and the gift to your beneficiary will instead enhance your beneficiary’s life while preserving their benefits. 

Why plan now?

wills and trusts lawyer planning

Beginning the process to establish a plan for your estate is important in the current financial climate. Given the broad uncertainty in the markets and the current tax code, it’s important for any individual who might have a taxable estate to consider the various estate planning options available to them.

Working with an experienced Virginia estate planning attorney from Select Law Partners PLLC ensures that you are informed of your available options. We will fully educate you about your options and will build an estate plan that suits your preferences and protects your assets and family. 

Ensure your loved ones have the tools to care for you in the event of illness or incapacitation

Having an estate plan in place is also helpful to establish the ability for your assets to be used by your family to support you in the event of a tragic accident or illness. There are developments in life that can’t be controlled, and as a result of them, people might be unable to make important financial decisions on their own behalf.

If you were to become ill or incapacitated, it’s essential that your family is capable of accessing assets to provide for your needs.

With Advanced Medical Directives and other legal instruments, your family will know what you want in terms of medical care. Further, they will be able to provide the care and treatments that you need to best recover from an accident or illness without the complication of your inability to access your assets and make your own decisions. 

Provide for your loved ones after your death

The purpose of the estate plan is to allow you to provide for your loved ones after death in the way that you prefer. Whether you execute a simple pour-over Will with a revocable trust that provides for the clear and concise distribution of your assets or a deluxe Will that provides for your minor beneficiaries, Select Law Partners PLLC can advise you of what estate plans you should take advantage of. 

Minimize estate taxes and probate fees

wills and trusts lawyer estate tax

Without the assistance of an estate planning lawyer, you could be subject to the most extensive taxes and probate fees allowable by law. Luckily, Virginia has no estate or inheritance tax, so upon your passing, you need only worry about the federal estate tax. The assets that are included in the estate tax returns include both probate and non-probate assets. 

There is a time limit, often nine months, during which to file your federal estate tax return. Missing deadlines can lead to liability and difficulties, as well as fees, so filing on time is important. Working with an estate-planning attorney ensures that deadlines are not missed, taxes minimized, and your probate fees kept as low as possible. 

Maximize government benefits

While minimizing the costs associated with government taxation are a key element of estate planning, there are government benefits that can be taken advantage of. We will explore the portfolio of assets you’re passing along and the legal instruments that we’ll be incorporating into your Will or trust package. 

As noted above, preserving government benefits is essential planning for purposes of special needs trust. You’re able to designate assets into irrevocable trusts that, in turn, allow for those assets to avoid incurring income tax liability while also not applying towards your beneficiary’s income. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC know what benefits to leverage to help make the most of government benefits in your estate plan. 

Ensure your assets are managed responsibly during and after your lifetime

The management of your estate can be a difficult and complex process, especially when it concerns making a plan on how things will pass to your relatives and intended beneficiaries on death. Working with an estate planning attorney ensures that you can take control of how your assets are managed in the present, and where they will go in the future. 

One of the major benefits of building an estate plan is the creation of a detailed portfolio and understanding of what your assets are. You might be surprised how extensive your property and belongings are, and also how unique your preferences might be as to how they are passed onward when you pass. 

Another major benefit that estate planning provides is clarity for your family and loved ones upon your passing. When your assets enter probate, or if the executor of your will is not an indifferent party capable of following your wishes, your family can spend years arguing over the way in which your property was divided.

By establishing a pour-over Will with a revocable trust or even a simple Will, you are in complete control of how your property will be distributed, who received it, and whether or not certain conditions must first be met prior to receiving their benefits. 

Why hire Select Law Partners PLLC?

Select Law Partners PLLC and our team of experienced estate planning attorneys have extensive experience representing the best interests of our clients, whatever their estate planning needs might be. 

Our initial meetings are straight to the point and are used to learn about you and to gather all the essential information to create a list of estate planning documents you’ll require. From there, we draft your industry-leading documents, and have a simple process for signing and finalizing your documents so that you can move on with your life knowing that your estate is planned, managed, and will be distributed as you prefer. 

Bespoke Planning

We are a client-focused firm and we provide each of our clients with the personalized attention needed to create an estate plan that aligns perfectly with your assets and preferences for them. 

The needs of each of our clients are unique, so should their estate plans. The process begins with your initial consultation where we collect information to determine the Will or trust package that best suits your estate and planning needs. We’ll review your options with you so that you can make an informed decision as to which estate planning path to take.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and once you have made your selection we will draft the required documents, then schedule a time and place to execute and finalize them. 

Don’t Wait – Let Our Wills and Trusts Attorney Help Plan Your Future Today

Call us at (855) 541-4867 or visit our site to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help your unique estate planning needs. We can discuss the various pricing options and will packages available and identify the most effective path towards realizing your estate planning goals.