Roanoke Estate Planning Attorney

Thinking about what happens after you pass away is not a task many people enjoy. It can be upsetting to consider leaving your loved ones behind, but when it comes to ensuring their financial stability and prosperity, there is something you can do. You can meet with an experienced Roanoke estate planning attorney. At Select Law Partners PLLC, our Roanoke attorneys put their knowledge and experience to work for you. roanoke estate planning attorney

Estate planning gives you the power to plan for you and your loved ones

When a person dies, the family is left facing not only their grief but usually a lot of confusion about whether there is a will, where it is, and understanding their legal obligations to the deceased’s estate. Writing a will is the first step in passing your legacy to your heirs.

Estate plans aren’t just for the wealthy

Although you may think you do not need an estate plan, the truth is that everyone can benefit from preparing their assets for transfer to the next generation. Preparing the right documents with the guidance of a skilled Roanoke, VA, estate planning lawyer gives you the confidence that your wishes will be fulfilled. You can also ensure that your children and other family members have a plan in place to ensure they live as comfortably as possible. With a combination of wills, trusts, and other documents, your loved ones will not have to face issues in probate court or legal challenges to your will.

Why do I need an attorney? Can’t I just create an estate plan online?

There are a number of websites that promise a fast, inexpensive way to create your will and other estate documents without the need for an attorney. However, you have to ask yourself: “Do I feel comfortable leaving my family’s future in the hands of an automated program?” For most of us, the answer is a resounding “No.” Although the online forms make it seem simple, you have no guarantee that these cookie-cutter companies are relying on the most current changes to Virginia’s probate laws. Working directly with our estate planning attorneys in Roanoke, VA, allows you to explain your situation and special concerns. They can create a customized solution for your unique circumstances and needs. At Select Law Partners PLLC, we strive to answer all your questions and educate you on the range of estate planning tools available to you. We manage the paperwork, ensuring all the details are included and everything is filed correctly. Your attorney can discuss “what if?” scenarios to help you decide how to pass on your assets. We can help you through an emotionally difficult process so you can continue your life with peace of mind about your family’s future when you are gone.

Who could benefit the most from having an estate plan?

There are a variety of individuals who benefit from a well-crafted estate plan. Some may need special protection from creditors or others from mismanaging their own inheritance. Although everyone can find an estate plan useful, some individuals can benefit the most, including the following.

Parents of minor children or children with special needs

If a parent is diagnosed with a serious or terminal disease and expects to pass away at a young age, an estate plan can ensure their minor children will be cared for financially. The same is true with parents who have children with special needs who will require care after the parents have died. A special needs trust can distribute funds for the care, education, housing, and other expenses a minor or adult child will need for the remainder of their life. roanoke estate planning lawyer

People with substantial assets

When you hold substantial assets in the form of property, funds, or other items, you must protect them from those who might hold up your estate in probate court by contesting your will. Working with an estate planning attorney in Roanoke, VA, allows you to secure your assets behind the wall of legal documents designed to quickly and successfully transfer your property without interference. You can also take advantage of tax loopholes to avoid gift, estate, and generation-skipping taxes. While Virginia does not have estate or inheritance taxes, there are still federal taxes you must consider.

People with disabilities

While you may not have a disability when you plan your estate, creating a trust to protect your assets can be helpful in the event you become incapacitated. For example, if you engage in a high-risk vocation or hobby, you could be temporarily or permanently injured and unable to manage your assets. Likewise, if you are diagnosed with a progressively debilitating disease, estate planning allows you to establish trusts and living will documents to manage your finances when you are no longer competent to make decisions.

What documents should I put in my estate plan?

Along with a will, your estate lawyer in Roanoke, VA, may determine that you need additional documents. You will always be in control of the final combination of tools, but our team will ensure you are fully educated on what each document is and how it could serve your needs.

Will or trust

Wills and trusts seem the same on the surface, but they actually serve different purposes and can work together to strengthen legal protections on your assets. A will states your wishes for distributing your personal property and caring for your children or pets. If you die without a will (intestate), then your estate will be subject to Virginia laws of distribution. Trusts can be used to make handing down property and funds even more secure than a will. A trust protects assets from going through the probate process. In most situations, you will find that a combination of a will and trusts is the best choice for you. Putting together a solid estate plan can prevent disagreements among family members during an already emotional time after your passing.

Powers of attorney or living will

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) gives you the ability to hand over power to someone else (an agent) to make financial decisions in the event you are incapacitated. For example, if you are in a coma following a car accident, the DPOA lets your spouse or other party make the choices needed to manage your assets and recovery. It is also used when an aging parent suffers from dementia and wishes to give legal authority to their child. A living will or advance directive is more focused on your desire for life-saving efforts if you are severely injured or ill. It states whether you want extraordinary measures taken or you prefer to be allowed to die a natural death. This document only addresses medical decisions and does not allow the agent to control your finances.

Disposition of final remains

How you wish for your earthly remains to be celebrated and buried is a very personal decision. You may want an unusual funeral and dispersal of your cremated remains in a favorite location. You may also wish to leave everything up to your family. However, giving them some guidance in your estate plan can relieve them of one more decision during a very trying time. Your estate planning lawyer can help you create a written and notarized designation for an individual who will manage this for you. The person must sign and agree to the document, which means they will know what to do when the time comes. Your family will not be left wondering and perhaps battling amongst themselves over where to lay you to rest.

Property memos

If you have certain items, such as jewelry, clothing, art, or furniture, that you specifically wish to leave to an individual, you may want to create a Personal Property Memorandum. This document allows you to make a separate, legally binding list of what the item is and who should receive it. It is not a part of your will but can provide greater detail when there are many items you would like to distribute. Property memos can be changed much more quickly and easily than changing a will, which makes them an attractive choice if you decide to change the distribution. If you sell or lose an item, you can also remove it from your memo without redoing your entire will, which can be expensive. In addition, a memo does not need to be notarized or filed to be recognized by the law. However, there is specific language you may want to include to ensure your wishes are made clear, and your estate planning lawyer in Roanoke, VA, can guide you with this process.

Barring creditors

When you pass away, any creditors who want to request a share of your estate can file a claim. They must be paid before any inheritance distributions are made. A well-prepared estate plan will keep your legacy out of their hands. When you use trusts and other tools, many items can be kept out of probate, meaning there is no public announcement or record of what you are leaving behind. These assets could include:
  • Artwork
  • Businesses
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Cars, trucks, boats, and planes
  • Cash
  • Contents of checking, saving, and money market accounts
  • Farm equipment
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Real estate
  • Retirement accounts or pension funds
  • Stock and bond accounts
A trust is a separate legal entity that functions separately from your estate. They allow you to reduce or eliminate probate taxes, protect against certain lawsuits, and keep your assets private.

Our Roanoke estate planning attorneys are here to give you and your family peace of mind

Instead of waiting until it may be too late, give your family the gift of estate planning today. By spending a short amount of time facing uncomfortable decisions, you can provide peace of mind for yourself and those you love. You will establish a solid system of documents that will guide them in their grief and protect their inheritance according to your wishes. Save your family the trouble and confusion of deciding what to do after you have passed away. Speak to a reputable and compassionate Roanoke estate planning attorney by calling Select Law Partners PLLC at (855) 541-4867 or using our online form to schedule a meeting today.